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Taleggio: Is it stinky?

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I was able to find some Taleggio here in Chicago for my focaccia. Upon opening, it smelled like old socks. Well-aged. I don't mind but it's off-putting for some family members. I was hoping for something more kid friendly. Do I return the rest to the cheese guy for an exchange of a milder piece or is this the nature of the beast?

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  1. It smells like wet socks, but the taste is absolutely fabulous. Maybe you should get an aged provolone, mozarella, or some gruyere?

    1. If it's not off-putting to some family members, you didn't get Taleggio!

      It's very very stinky. When I point at it cheesemongers usually ask me if I've had it before. They don't want to scare anyone away. They usually also lay down an extra layer of butcher paper and put on fresh gloves between working with Taleggio and going back to other cheeses, to avoid cross-contamination.

      1. It may not be kid friendly but it certainly is yummy.

        1. I also think it doesn't taste nearly as strong as it smells - really quite creamy - enjoy!

          1. Yep, I was a little put off the first time I got it as well. But trust me, the taste is quite lovely and nothing like the stinky smell!

            I'm not sure what to suggest for your kids. Depends on what you want to go with for the foccacia. Maybe some scamorza?

            1 Reply
            1. re: QueenB

              Hmmm...interesting. The odor does linger. I had to wrap the rest of the cheese tightly and clean everything and it still lingered for hours. Then I had to wrap up the few pieces of left over focaccia. I can see why the cheese-chappies wear gloves as I think my hands still have a faint scent of taleggio on them. (Yes, they've been washed about 50 times since yesterday!)

              I remember having focaccia in Italy on several visits to the Northwest. I wonder if they used crescenza because I don't remember a strongly flavored cheese?

              Anyone know where I can get Crescenza in Chicago?

            2. If the rind is a bit slimy, scraping the slime off with a butter knife will help tone the stink factor down a little.

              1. I love to cook with this cheese -- the flavor mellows, and the cheese melts beautifully. Unlike Gruyere, for example, it doesn't stink as it cooks, and lends a nutty, tantalizing taste to anything it's cooked with (stuffed chicken breasts, mac and cheese, lasagne) -- it's all good, and a little goes a long way. Tallegio (cut into tiny cubes when cold) is also a killer addition to pasta salads.