I am going to kick off with TALEGGIO this morning.
Soft buttery Taleggio has a characteristic flat, square form and with age, an amber colored rind. It is produced from the milk of the Holstein cow and the Swiss Brown cow. These cow varieties graze on lush, spring fed, pastures in Northern Lombardia, in the Taleggio Valley and in provinces of Bérgamo, Pavia, Brescia, Côme, Milán, Treviso and Novara as well as Piemonte and Veneto.
This cheese is one of a group of cow milk varieties, that Italians in Italia, collectively call Stracchino. One might see Taleggio sold by that name although the cheese´s DOC ( designation controlled origin ) is a clover like shaped logo enclosing stylized linked letters and with the producer´s number embossed on the top unmistakenably.
Stracch in the Lombardian dialect signifies tired cows. Their milk after the stress of a long journey between the high Alpine grazing pastures and the lower winter grazing lands, is extra rich in butter fat. Thus Stracchino cheeses are fine in their own right.
Taleggio possesses a complex flavor, which is quite aromatic yet, slightly sweet with an acidic yet truffled post gusto, or after taste. Furthermore, this cheese pairs perfectly with: Pinot Grigio whites, Moscatel or Muscat from de Asti and Cabernet Sauvignon from Trentino Alto Adigio.
The uses of this cheese vary from family to family, however, generally they are used in: Truffle Oil, sliced Bresaola an air dried beef from the Alpine region, and is spread on toast; in the USA it is often used in salads, antipasti, egg dishes, au gratin oven baked dishes melted and as pizza toppings.
The texture is bland, firm and compact and the color ranges from pale straw to ivory yellowish in young cheeses to a deeper pale ivory yellow in cured varieties. The square format ranges from 20 to 25cm. with 5 to 7cm. in height and the average weight is 1.7 kilos to 2.2 kilos.
The rind is rugged with a slight hue of rose dominated by a caramel orange color. Taleggio is a cheese of numerous nuances.
Taleggio is often drizzled with Truffle Oil due to the fact that it possesses a aromatic smokiness and fragrance of white truffles.
Part 4 - to be continued.