Let me introduce you to my new friend taleggio. I first came across this cheese when I was working at the Greenhouse in Perth. I had never heard about it but was instantly intrigued by it's name and it's taste. As soon as I got home, I read everything I could find about it on the internet. I was in love. When I stumbled apon this glorious cheese again at Food Story a café in Stavanger, it was time to write about it.
So Ta-leeee-ggio. First of all the name. It rolls off the tounge like a drop of olive oil rolling off a sexy Italian mans chin as he eats bruchetta. I think the name is beautiful, I could easily name my son Taleggio. Second attraction of taleggio is its history.... It is named after an Italian valley, and has been produced in the rolling foothills of Northern Italy since the 9th century. Taleggio is made from the milk of tired cows in late autumn and winter. The cows of Northern Italy traditionally spend the summer walking across the alps into different pastures. By winter they are totally exhausted, but their milk is nice and fatty and acidic; perfect for making taleggio. In 1988 taleggio received a "Presidential Decree" which sounds fancy and means that the president recognised the cheese as have an own entity. Like champagne having to be made in the the Champagne region of France, a true taleggio it must be produced in one of seven Northern Italian provinces.
But most importantly; it tastes like heaven. It's not quite as soft as brie, but is has a beautiful full milk (48% fat), earthy, yeasty flavour. It's perfect for using in toasted sandwiches, on crackers or fresh crusty bread. It melts nicely into a creamy cheese, so it would also work well as a fondue, souffle or melted over a grilled chicken breast. It's flavour isn't overpowering, it's buttery and melts in your mouth. It's just bloody delicious. Eat it with a glass light red wine.