Taleggio (IPA: /ta'lɛdʒjo/) is a washed rind Italian cheese that is named after Val Taleggio. The cheese has a strong aroma, but its flavour is comparatively mild with an unusual fruity tang. Its crust is thin and studded with salt crystals.
The name Taleggio has been used before the 10th century in the caves of Val Taleggio. It might be one of the oldest soft cheeses. The production takes place every autumn and winter when the cows were tired (Italian: stracche). Giacomo Casanova decided in 1763 in Sant'Angelo Lodigiano to write articles about cheeses into the encyclopedia. His work was never completed.
First, the acidified milk is brought to the lab from milk calves. The cheese is set on wood shelves in chambers, sometimes in caves as per tradition, and will mature within six to ten weeks. It is washed once a week with a seawater sponge, in order to prevent mould infestation, and to prevent the cheese from forming an orange or rose crust.
Today, the cheese is made from pasteurized milk and from raw milk in factories. The factory-made ones are brighter and moderate in flavor. Spices, raisins, nuts and some lemons are also added.
The cheese can be used with some salads such as radicchio and rucola and with spices from bruschetta with zucchini and sage. It melts well with risotto or on polenta.