Taleggio 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 however its flavour is comparatively mild with an unusual fruity tang.
History of Taleggio Cheese
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, the cheese is made from unpasteurised 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. In addition, it melts well and can be used in risotto or on polenta. Serve with a chilled Italian Soave.
Taleggio Fondue Cheese
Tallegio can also make an excellent fondue cheese. Fondue is a Swiss melted cheese dish served in a communal pot (caquelon or fondue pot) over a stove (réchaud). It is heated with a candle or spirit lamp and eaten by dipping bread into the cheese using long-stemmed forks. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s It was popularized in North America in the 1960s.