Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Taleggio - Micro Blog

I was at Whole Foods on Sunday looking for some Triple Creme Brie.  The Brie wasn't in its typical spot.  I found another soft cheese, decided to try it instead, and bought just over 5 ounces for $7.95.

Taleggio  is, possibly, one of the oldest Italian produced soft cheeses. Its name has been found in the caverns of the Alpine Valley dating back before the tenth century.

Named for the Alpine Valley (the Val Taleggio) in the Lombardy region of Italy, where it's produced, this cows' milk cheese is only made during fall and winter months.  Unlike most cheeses, Taleggio is both smear-ripened (bacteria, often the bacteria called "Brevibacterium linens", is smeared onto the rind of the cheese to strengthen the cheese's flavor during aging) and rind-washed (the cheese is washed during aging, usually with a saltwater brine, but more flavorful liquids such as beer, brandy, or wine can be used)Taleggio undergoes this duel process anywhere from six to ten weeks to give the cheese ample time to reach maturity and optimum flavor.

The result is a soft Italian cheese with a buttery nutty salty flavor and creamy smooth texture.  I ate a healthy portion of it that night along with a green summer salad of spinach & Granny Smith Apples, and a loaf of fresh bakery bread.  When served at room temperature, Taleggio spread across my bread as easily as butter, providing a rich fatty contrast to the crisp green salad.

Taleggio Cheese (Italy), image by Dominik Hundhammer 2004, {{GFDL}}  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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