Tallegio cheese. The name Taleggio is taken from the area where this cheese was first made, Val Taleggio in Bergamo. Originally the cheese was made in the mountains but its production has spread from the Alpine regions to large areas of the Po valley. It has a thin crust and a strong aroma, but its flavour is comparatively mild with an unusual fruity tang.
Taleggio cheese has been around since Roman times, with Cicero, Cato the Elder, and Pliny the Elder all mentioning it in their writings. The cheese was solely produced in the Val Taleggio until the late 1800s, when some production moved to the Lombardy plain to the south. The production takes place every autumn and winter. First, acidified milk is mixed with rennet taken from milk calves. The cheese is matured on wood shelves in chambers or caves for six to ten weeks. It is washed once a week with a seawater sponge to prevent mould growth and to form a crust.
Today, Tallegio cheese is made from both pasteurised milk and raw milk in factories. The factory-made cheeses are brighter and moderate in flavour. The cheese can be grated with salads such as radicchio or rocket and with tomato on bruschetta. It melts well, and can be used in risotto or on polenta.