HOME > Chowhound > Cheese >
Are you making a specialty food? Share your adventure
TELL US

Taleggio: Cheese of the Month (Mar 2013)

Veggo Mar 4, 2013 07:02 AM

(Someone had to take the bull by the antlers)
My first experience with taleggio was cheese nirvana; stinky, delicious, smooth, and under $20/lb. I thought I was in cheese heaven.
Subsequent purchases have been disappointing, too mild and presumably under-ripe. Aside from smell, are there other indicators for when it's ready, and what is the best way to mature it once I own it?
Thanks, fellow cheese mice.

  1. i
    INDIANRIVERFL Mar 4, 2013 08:00 AM

    Closest source so far is 140 miles away. If I am going to drive that far, I am not going to quibble about the price. Still searching for closer to the Space Coast.

    1 Reply
    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
      c
      cheesemaestro Mar 4, 2013 03:43 PM

      There used to be two cheese shops in Vero Beach. I know that Bodega Blue closed over a year ago, after its owner died during a vacation to the Bahamas. I don't know if the other shop, The Cheese Cave, is still open. You might want to look into it. Also, there are Whole Foods stores in Orlando and Winter Park. I haven't been in either store, but like other WF locations, they should have a cheese department.

    2. The Dairy Queen Mar 4, 2013 08:17 AM

      Hello...I saw the poll over on Site Talk about cheese of the month and am curious about how cheese of the month is going to work. I'm not sure how a cheese-novice such as myself can contribute to such a thread, so I thought I'd just attach myself to this post and see how the conversation plays out. I guess, for me, I'd like to know how to select it, how to store it, what to use it for, and what makes it special (ie., what should I notice about this cheese when I taste it?). Hopefully, I'll learn all of that by reading along?

      Thanks for getting us started, Veggo!

      ~TDQ

      2 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen
        Melanie Wong Mar 4, 2013 11:45 AM

        Cheese of the month will work however the participants want it to be. Entirely user-directed. One of the valuable opportunities is to be tasting together and sharing impressions. I've done online tastings of the same wine and the collective experience can be quite wide-ranging.

        Since you're in an urban area, I suggest that you drop by your favorite cheese shop to buy some Taleggio. Maybe you'll even have a chance to try from two different lots, then you can decide which tastes better to you and report back to this thread.

        Even though I posted a recipe, mostly I consume Taleggio as a table cheese. It costs less usually than French washed rind cheeses, seems to be more widely available, and is an easy choice to add variety to a cheese course.

        1. re: Melanie Wong
          The Dairy Queen Mar 4, 2013 11:48 AM

          Oh! Interesting idea to ask to buy some from two different lots. I shall try that. I have access to a fantastic cheeseshop and I can't wait to go in there with some purpose!

          ~TDQ

      2. Gio Mar 4, 2013 08:30 AM

        Are you talking about cave aged or factory made cheese? Pasteurized or raw?

        I don't think I've ever had Taleggio, Veggo. Now I'll have to seek at my local salumeria. They carry quite a lot imported items so just maybe I'll find it there. Then there's always Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge.

        http://www.formaggiokitchen.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=21_109&products_id=885

        From The Cheesemonger's Top Ten Rules for Ultimate Cheese Sanity:

        "5. Washed rind cheeses like taleggio, limburger, and epoisses are best eaten straight from the cheese shop. These are the smelly cheeses, and the stink will only proliferate in the small confines of your refrigerator. Their rinds (and, in turn, the inner paste) will dry out and crack, which is nothing short of a death sentence for the bacteria living on the rind that makes this style of cheese distinctive. Washed-rinds will last two to four weeks, but try not to see them past their first week home."

        http://www.thekitchn.com/the-cheesemo...

        19 Replies
        1. re: Gio
          mcf Mar 4, 2013 08:33 AM

          I love washed rind cheeses and I have zero issues with lingering smell. I keep them in sealed glass containers, Pyrex or Duralex. Complete non issue.

          I love me some Taleggio.

          1. re: mcf
            Gio Mar 4, 2013 08:35 AM

            So the Taleggio doesn't dry out in the glass containers, MCF?
            Good to know.

            1. re: Gio
              mcf Mar 4, 2013 08:56 AM

              Nope, nor in the plastic ones I used to use. I try for a pretty close match between sizes of cheese and glass.

            2. re: mcf
              jpr54_1 Mar 4, 2013 08:41 AM

              this will be a first for me trying taleggio.

              can we also include a novice cheese for beginners or another cheese from Italy or region?

              is there a guideline for describing the cheese?

              I think we need some structure.

              1. re: jpr54_1
                Veggo Mar 4, 2013 09:03 AM

                At risk of annoying some europeans, I would say Taleggio is the Italian counterpart to French epoisses, but a little firmer and 1/3 less cost. Semi-soft with a thin, washed rind (nothing like brie), and a rich flavor and aroma.
                At cheese shops where one can taste I learn a lot. I sampled 9 at the Artisan Cheese Company in Sarasota last week. But many gourmet stores that are less cheese-centric have all the cheeses pre-wrapped and there is little opportunity to learn the cheese or its ripeness. The 2 I did buy were about $35/lb, and I would not have paid that price without knowing their flavor. (Neither was taleggio).

                1. re: Veggo
                  Melanie Wong Mar 4, 2013 11:48 AM

                  Even at stores that have pre-cut and wrapped cheeses, it's worth asking if you can taste before buying (assuming you can find a staff member to help you). Often times this is possible. You just select the piece that suits you, then the staffer unwraps it and shaves off a taste for you. You buy that piece if you like it, and if not, the staff will reweigh and rewrap it to go back on the shelf.

              2. re: mcf
                deet13 Mar 14, 2013 04:50 PM

                Same here... I put washed rind cheeses in sealed glass jars or in pyrex containers to age further.

                Taleggio, like Limberger, grows runnier/softer/smoother and tastes more buttery/meatier(?), the older it gets.

                Hmm, now I want to go buy a couple of lbs. of the stuff...

                1. re: deet13
                  mcf Mar 31, 2013 03:46 PM

                  I don't think cheeses ripen further once the wheel is cut, they just kind of age... anyway, those are too good to last long around here. :-)

              3. re: Gio
                Veggo Mar 4, 2013 09:07 AM

                Gio, I think most of the european ripened cheeses available to us stateside have been pasteurized, because they are too young to qualify for the "aged" exception.

                1. re: Veggo
                  sunshine842 Mar 4, 2013 09:19 AM

                  Taleggio in particular will be pasteurized in the US - from the links I can find, it's best consumed at 25-40 days - well below the 60-day threshold of the US regs.

                  1. re: Veggo
                    Gio Mar 4, 2013 09:46 AM

                    Thanks, Veggo. But... Here's a link to this very discussion, re imported cheese:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/385539#2426971

                    And just for the record here's a link to a thread in which a Customs Officer answers questions about bringing cheese and other food into the US:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/353902

                    1. re: Gio
                      jpr54_1 Mar 4, 2013 10:20 AM

                      The thread from Customs Officer was informative and helpful.

                      1. re: Gio
                        sunshine842 Mar 4, 2013 11:08 AM

                        the only hitch is that what is allowable in quantities for personal use in your luggage doesn't apply to commercial quantities.

                        You can bring home that wedge of runny, young Brie in your luggage -- but you can't import a couple of wheels of it.

                        1. re: sunshine842
                          Gio Mar 4, 2013 11:47 AM

                          But we can buy raw milk cheeses from cheese mongers who can import them, as I understand it.

                          From Wiki:
                          "Twenty-eight U.S. states do not prohibit sales of raw milk."

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_milk...

                          1. re: Gio
                            sunshine842 Mar 4, 2013 01:27 PM

                            Without getting into a lot of very off-topic, and frankly boring details -- raw milk is domestic, so has nothing to do with import laws. The rule of thumb for cheese is 60 days, although I cannot imagine what happens at the stroke of midnight on the 59th day that magically renders the cheese safe. And small quantities for personal consumption fall under completely different rules than quantities for commercial resale.

                            I also know that there are artisanal raw-milk cheese produced in the US....but those fall under different rules yet.

                            Yes, this drives people completely mad.

                            1. re: sunshine842
                              c
                              cheesemaestro Mar 4, 2013 03:35 PM

                              Actually, this is not a matter of import laws. The same 60-day aging regulation applies to raw milk domestic cheeses in the US, as well as to imported cheeses. The laws for raw milk are different from those affecting cheeses made from raw milk. On the one hand, the sale of raw milk is controlled at the individual state level in the US, which is why it is legal to sell raw milk in some states and illegal in others. State law applies. On the other hand, the sale of cheeses made from raw milk is determined by federal law. The 60-day rule is therefore enforceable in all 50 states. Ditto in Canada, except that Quebec allows the sale of younger raw milk cheeses.

                              Raw milk Taleggio is available in the US. Some Taleggio is aged as long as 10 weeks and so satisfies the 60-day rule. Zingerman's has a raw milk Taleggio in stock right now. Still, you're right that most Taleggio found in the US is pasteurized and aged for a shorter time.

                              1. re: cheesemaestro
                                sunshine842 Mar 5, 2013 12:06 AM

                                yes, sorry -- my 60-day comment wasn't clear -- but the 60-day is across-the-board for commercially-sold cheeses.

                    2. re: Gio
                      9
                      9lives Mar 5, 2013 05:10 PM

                      Gio, I love Talleggio. Bought some today at Salumeria Italiana in the North End for $14/lb.

                      Monica's usually has it. There is a rosa..reddish rind that they sometimes have which I think has a little more flavor.

                      Golden Goose on the waterfront sometimes has it on special for about $8/lb but you need to eat it right away or it develops sort of an ammonia taste that I don't care for.

                      FK will certainly have it.

                      As to lasting 2-4 weeks, I would think it would dry out. I buy in small quantities and it's usually consumed within 2-4 days. I think its much milder than a limburger.

                      Hope you enjoy it!

                      1. re: 9lives
                        Gio Mar 6, 2013 05:23 AM

                        Thanks very much 9lives. Have noted the places you named. Since Pace is just up the pike, so to speak, from us I'll ask there just in case they have it, then if that fails into Boston we shall go.

                    3. sunshine842 Mar 4, 2013 09:08 AM

                      I'll have to look for it...I don't even know if I can find it here!

                      T-Fal makes a cheese keeper that has a charcoal filter in the lid -- it keeps the 'fridge-funk' at bay -- as does my Tupperware Cheese box -- I bought it here in France, and I don't see it on the US site, but it *rocks* -- you can open the door and stay on your feet, even with bleus and chevres that otherwise knock you flat.

                      Do try not to seal good artisanal cheese with an airtight seal -- cheese is a living being, and it needs air, or the being dies (and gets REALLY funky, in a bad way) Doesn't matter with industrial plastic bricks, but artisanal cheese needs TLC.

                      You can also wrap them in deli paper - a lightweight paper with a gas-permeable liner that keeps cheese fresh and living without getting sweaty and moldy.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: sunshine842
                        j
                        jeanmarieok Mar 5, 2013 02:57 PM

                        When I buy cheese, I ask for a couple sheets of the paper they wrap cheese in. I have amassed a decent collection now - and when the wrap on my cheese needs to be replaced, I wrap in a new sheet of paper, then a loose plastic wrap over it.

                        1. re: jeanmarieok
                          linguafood Mar 9, 2013 02:54 PM

                          Wax paper is our go-to cheese-wrap. *Really* difficult to find in Germany, tho.

                          1. re: linguafood
                            sunshine842 Mar 10, 2013 01:56 AM

                            Can you buy the special deli paper in Berlin, Lingua?

                            I also use parchment if I don't have any of the special stuff on hand - it works well, too.

                            1. re: sunshine842
                              linguafood Mar 10, 2013 11:40 AM

                              It's really difficult to come by in stores. Many cheese mongers will supply special wrapping paper for the cheeses they sell, and we always keep them for multiple uses.

                              1. re: linguafood
                                sunshine842 Mar 10, 2013 11:52 AM

                                The package I have (Albal is the brand in France) says it's made by Cofresco (a German company!) and distributed by Melitta France.

                                Found this: http://www.hygi.de/toppits_wurst_kaes...

                                It looks like the same stuff I've got (obviously, no guarantee that you can *find* it, but might give you somewhere to start!

                                )

                                Toppits is another of Cofresco's brands -- hope that helps!

                                1. re: sunshine842
                                  linguafood Mar 10, 2013 11:58 AM

                                  Oh yeah! Good link, sunshine! Hope I'll remember till May :-)

                                  1. re: linguafood
                                    sunshine842 Mar 14, 2013 04:00 PM

                                    Hmmm...possible trouble on the horizon....I was out, and had to look high and low to find it.

                                    Given the crap weather we had earlier this week, it's possible that the shelf was just picked over...but there used to be two facings on the shelf, and now it's just one.

                              2. re: sunshine842
                                r
                                ratgirlagogo Mar 14, 2013 03:55 PM

                                Parchment. Thank you, this is very helpful to me.

                        2. jpr54_1 Mar 4, 2013 09:38 AM

                          I, now know that taleggio is smear ripened

                          1. e
                            EmBrooks Mar 4, 2013 10:40 AM

                            Thank you for getting this started. I'm off to the cheese store this week to pick up my first Taleggio!

                            1. Melanie Wong Mar 4, 2013 11:07 AM

                              Thanks for wrestling the bull!

                              Here's my recipe for an asparagus and Taleggio galette. I make it every spring when the first asparagus emerges which is right now. Wine recommendation is a dry Alsatian Muscat.
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2868...

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                The Dairy Queen Mar 4, 2013 11:30 AM

                                Melanie, that galette sounds positively delicious. How much taleggio would you estimate the galette requires? Maybe 3-4 ounces?

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                  Melanie Wong Mar 4, 2013 11:40 AM

                                  Even less than that. You don't even see it really. Think of it as a "glaze". I use a cheese plane to scrape off the thinnest slices I can. In that link, I say that I had to ask when type of cheese the restaurant used. All I knew was that it was delicious, but it didn't make a strong enough statement for me to ID it.

                                  Taleggio is a strongly flavored cheese, so a little can go a long way. It imparts an earthiness that counterbalances the bright spring green and sweet flavors of the asparagus. Also the puff pastry is quite rich, so you don't need heavy amounts of dairy weighing down the galette. Yet, I have tried other milder cheeses, and the result is not as good as when I use Taleggio. Morbier might be a good substitute, if Taleggio can't be found.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                                    The Dairy Queen Mar 4, 2013 11:46 AM

                                    OK, thank you! Just want to know how much to allow for when I place my order with the cheesemonger. I think I'll try to pay them a visit later this week when I can be toddler-free briefly...

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                      grayelf Mar 4, 2013 03:23 PM

                                      Hey, TDQ, be sure to order extra taleggio beyond what you need for the galette as I think you're going to want to eat some plain :-).

                                      1. re: grayelf
                                        The Dairy Queen Mar 4, 2013 03:50 PM

                                        Good plan!

                                        ~TDQ

                              2. The Dairy Queen Mar 4, 2013 11:42 AM

                                Here's a link to all "online" recipes that call for taleggio that have been indexed by the folks at Eat Your Books: http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

                                There are a few recipes by Ottolenghi, Lahey, Slater and from Delicious Magazine that are calling my name!

                                ~TDQ

                                1. c
                                  cheeseplatesf Mar 4, 2013 02:42 PM

                                  I love Tallegio and use it for my beginning cheese classes all the time. I also encounter varing degrees of ripeness from the cheese counter.

                                  I find young Tallegio to have a tartness that I do not like. But the boiled peanuts notes from the rind are more prominent to me - which I do like. In general I like more ripened Tallegio with a paste that bulges noticeably even when encased in plastic wrap. Unfortunately, I generally find that most cheese shops sell young Tallegio.

                                  But not to fear - Tallegio is easy to "affinage" (age) at home. Once home from the cheese counter - I will unwrap and scrape the sides of the cheese that were touching plastic. Then put into a lidded container or plate with an over turned bowl. I do not use plastic containers as I fear they may become stinky over time.

                                  I leave it out at ROOM TEMPERATURE (60 - 75 degrees F) for 1 - 2 days until ripened to my liking. The flavor will not be as robust as a whole wheel that was ripened to this stage but it works to mellow and slightly develop the flavors to a lovely earth but not funky state with definite sweetness and a great creamy paste.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cheeseplatesf
                                    Veggo Mar 4, 2013 03:14 PM

                                    Excellent information - thanks!

                                  2. h
                                    HillJ Mar 4, 2013 03:51 PM

                                    When I made risotto with mushrooms I added taleggio. It melts so nicely into the rice. A little bit went a long way.

                                    I'm going to give this recipe a try on Sunday with the rest of the piece I have on hand.
                                    http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/47...

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: HillJ
                                      s
                                      small h Nov 17, 2013 08:29 AM

                                      Can I ask how much taleggio you used? I added about two tablespoons per 1/2 cup rice, and I could barely taste the cheese. Am I under-cheesing?

                                      1. re: small h
                                        Ruth Lafler Nov 17, 2013 09:58 AM

                                        I would say you answered your own question: if you can't taste it you are undercheesing.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                          s
                                          small h Nov 17, 2013 10:15 AM

                                          Well, I don't want to go too far in the other direction. How much would you use?

                                          1. re: small h
                                            Ruth Lafler Nov 17, 2013 10:29 AM

                                            I'd add more at the end until it tasted the way I wanted it to. It's really a matter of personal preference.

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                              Veggo Nov 17, 2013 07:19 PM

                                              THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH CHEESE!
                                              Sorry for the scream. This mouse had to vent...

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                s
                                                small h Nov 18, 2013 10:45 AM

                                                This method works fine for many dishes - soup, for instance - but with risotto, I wouldn't keep adding and stirring and adding and stirring. That way lies gruel.

                                        2. re: HillJ
                                          h
                                          HillJ Nov 17, 2013 06:55 PM

                                          I added one cup to 4 cups of risotto and I tossed it in while piping hot in the pot as a last step.

                                          I also made the recipe I linked and it was fantastic.

                                          1. re: HillJ
                                            s
                                            small h Nov 17, 2013 07:16 PM

                                            Thanks! My psychic powers tell me your 4 cups is a cooked volume, rather than a dry volume, which means I should definitely throw more cheese at the problem. And that potato tart looks amazing.

                                            1. re: small h
                                              h
                                              HillJ Nov 17, 2013 07:22 PM

                                              Yes, def cooked. I didn't add the wonderful cheese until I was done preparing the risotto and then I just broke up the cheese and folded it into the hot risotto to melt it down, off heat.

                                              Give that tart :) a try!

                                        3. c
                                          cheesemonger Mar 4, 2013 09:12 PM

                                          Nicely done Veggo, and a great place to start, with a cheese that's pretty easy to find for most people.

                                          I hope that I don't repeat the thoughts of others.... but here's my rant on Taleggio care. This is one of my favorite cheeses to play with/make happy.

                                          There are a few variables when buying Taleggio. Age, maker, care in the shop. I've seen everything from pinky-orange deliciousness to a gassy gray mess.

                                          Rind should be pinky orange, and will have some gray spots- it's part of the natural process, brining helps tamp down the gray molds, but those molds also add some musty to the flavor.

                                          Think about what has made Taleggio happy in aging properly- it's been raised in it's cool, damp, cave (or aging room) with it's happy bacteria and molds that contribute to it's loveliness. Then it's cruelly ripped from it's happy place, wrapped in paper, placed in a box, put on a truck, put in a warehouse, then placed on a ship, then placed in another warehouse, then at least one more truck..... whew! Poor cheese!

                                          What's happened here is that this cheese that had thrived in it's home environment is *thirsty*. A good cheesemonger will give the pinky-orange bacteria (b. linens) what it needs to thrive, and what it needs is a salty bath. Not a dunking, but a gentle introduction of some briny water to it's rind, and gently rubbed in.

                                          A dried, cracked, overly gray wheel is an unhappy cheese. If it's not too far gone, you can even fix this at home. Make a brine- salty like the sea. Sprinkle this on the rind, and gently rub into the rind. Let sit for 15 minutes. Do it again.

                                          While at first, it may have felt like rubbing water on a rock, the rind starts to respond, starts to get softer and, well, slicker and, dare I say, slimey-er. That's happy rind.

                                          Yes, it's best to do this to the whole wheel, but you can work a cut piece at home easily, and it will make the rind much more edible, for those that enjoy the rind as well as the paste.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: cheesemonger
                                            sunshine842 Mar 10, 2013 12:23 PM

                                            is the "brine therapy" good for all washed-rind cheeses?

                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                              c
                                              cheesemonger Mar 10, 2013 04:32 PM

                                              I think so- so many are thirsty thirsty by the time they get to a shop or you home... but, if the cheese is dead, it's dead, and little to nothing can help.

                                              But, it can't hurt. Just be sure that what you have is a washed rind cheese. Not directed at you in particular, mind you, but I've had people try brining a natural rind cheese, and of course, that doesn't help anything. It just makes it wet.

                                              1. re: cheesemonger
                                                sunshine842 Mar 10, 2013 11:48 PM

                                                yeah, I'm really not thinking bring would help a Comté or a Brie all that much (I cringe thinking of drowning all that fuzzy white Brie bloom in brine)

                                          2. m
                                            Madrid Mar 5, 2013 02:07 PM

                                            one of my favorite recipes is a mashed potato cake with braised black / dinosaur/ lacinto kale and taleggio inside. I can't find the recipe, but think Paula Wolfert had a version in her "Med grains and greens". It goes so well with pears and mushrooms, as others have noted.

                                            1. c
                                              cheesemaestro Mar 5, 2013 02:20 PM

                                              In a thread on Site Talk (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892937) going on now, I recommended that each Cheese of the Month thread start with a profile of the cheese. Here a profile of Taleggio:

                                              Type: Washed rind, aka smear-ripened or "stinky cheese"

                                              Country: Italy

                                              Region: Lombardy and small portions of the regions of Piedmont and Veneto

                                              History: Recorded in the 13th century. May date from several centuries earlier. Name comes from the Val Taleggio, a valley near Bergamo in Lombardy, where it was originally made.

                                              Firmness: Semi-soft

                                              Milk: Raw or pasteurized cow's milk. Most Taleggio sold in the US is pasteurized.

                                              Rennet: Animal

                                              Size and format: 4 to 5 lb. squares

                                              Age: 5-10 weeks (occasionally longer).

                                              Rind: Reddish, with patches of white/grey mold. Edible, but may, in some cases, be gritty or bitter.

                                              Aroma: Strong, yeasty. Ammoniated when past its prime.

                                              Flavor: Fairly mild (milder than its odor would suggest) and slightly sour when young. Meaty/beefy when older.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: cheesemaestro
                                                The Dairy Queen Mar 5, 2013 05:54 PM

                                                Very nice! I wonder if we should flag this post and request the mods to edit Veggo's OP to include a link to it (if that's okay with you and veggo) for easy access to this information for posterity...

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: cheesemaestro
                                                  EM23 Mar 7, 2013 11:13 AM

                                                  "and slightly sour when young"
                                                  Now I wish I had read through this whole thread before shopping yesterday. I tasted a piece of taleggio at the store and found it to be slighty sour, so I didn't buy it thinking that it had gone off. It was a pre-wrapped.
                                                  If I had bought it home, re-wrapped in paper, and let it sit for a few days, would it have lost the sour taste?

                                                  1. re: cheesemaestro
                                                    DeborahL Mar 8, 2013 05:11 PM

                                                    Really appreciated this information cheesemaestro, thank you!

                                                  2. jpr54_1 Mar 5, 2013 02:25 PM

                                                    how can u tell if cheese is young?
                                                    would u suggest trying related cheeses at this time orwaiting

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: jpr54_1
                                                      c
                                                      cheesemaestro Mar 5, 2013 02:32 PM

                                                      Hard to tell, but you're much more likely to get a young Taleggio here in the US. (By "young," I mean a cheese aged 5-6 weeks.) Younger Taleggio also tends to be less expensive, in the $10-15 a pound range vs older (and especially, raw-milk) cheese, which is more likely to be $15 a pound and up. You can always ask the person behind the cheese counter. He/she may not know the answer, but, then again, you may encounter someone who does.

                                                      I'm not sure why you would want to wait to try Taleggio. Is there something about what's been said here that puts you off?

                                                      1. re: cheesemaestro
                                                        jpr54_1 Mar 5, 2013 02:39 PM

                                                        I guess I was afraid of trying a cheese which has a strong odor like limburger.

                                                        I did purchase the cheese this afternoon at Whole Foods and will try it this evening after dinner with a glass of wine and cracker

                                                        1. re: jpr54_1
                                                          c
                                                          cheesemaestro Mar 5, 2013 02:51 PM

                                                          The aroma is not as strong as a ripe Limburger's is, but it's certainly true that the odor of washed-rind cheeses (which some people compare to dirty socks after a day at the gym) is the primary barrier to trying them. However, I have found that once people taste a washed-rind cheese, they are pleasantly surprised. The flavor is usually much milder than the smell suggests. Let us know what you think after you've tried your Taleggio.

                                                          1. re: cheesemaestro
                                                            sunshine842 Mar 10, 2013 12:24 PM

                                                            Very often with cheese, the challenge is getting it past your nose -- once you manage that, the reward is usually worth it!

                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                              EM23 Mar 10, 2013 12:51 PM

                                                              True that. My cousin was just telling me that he doesn't like stinky cheese - any! And there was no convincing him otherwise... His loss.

                                                          2. re: jpr54_1
                                                            jpr54_1 Mar 6, 2013 10:21 AM

                                                            I enjoyed my first small piece of taleggio-it didn't have the odor I was expecting.
                                                            It was soft and had a nice taste-I am not sure the words to describe taste.
                                                            I will definitely buy again and taste other talaggios.
                                                            Do other Lombardy cheeses have similar tastes. I have started reading the Cheese Primer.

                                                      2. Delucacheesemonger Mar 5, 2013 06:10 PM

                                                        Taleggio, like Morbier from the Jura, used to be a fascinating product. Then the factories came in and took a raw milk washed rind cheese from the mountains and turned it into an insipid highly pasteurized one from the plains.
                                                        Rogers, an importer from New England, to my mind, is the only importer of the mountain stuff which is truly awesome. Try and find it.
                                                        As with many cheeses, this is one never to buy pre-cut or pre-wrapped and make sure you taste before purchase

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                          The Dairy Queen Mar 5, 2013 06:14 PM

                                                          Forgive my ignorance, but when you say never to buy it pre-cut or pre-wrapped, you mean that they should cut and wrap it right in front of you, right? How do you know? I mean, obviously, if it's sitting there all wrapped up and priced out in the fridge case, you know it's been pre-cut,,,but otherwise you can assume it hasn't been?

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                            h
                                                            HillJ Mar 6, 2013 04:53 AM

                                                            What an excellent question, TDQ. I never thought about it like that before.

                                                            At this point, my only self-directed rule about buying any cheese for the first time is a) how much I'm willing to spend that visit and b) I don't buy a cheese without tasting it. For me, a new to my experience, pre-wrapped cheese that I can't taste is no longer worth taking a chance on. There are so many choices and it can run you some money.

                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                              sunshine842 Mar 6, 2013 05:48 AM

                                                              Yes for a cheese I've never tasted.

                                                              Not a big deal if I'm familiar with the cheese AND I trust the vendor.

                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                h
                                                                HillJ Mar 6, 2013 06:05 AM

                                                                Right I was only referring to cheeses I've never tried. As for vendor that's a bit tricky. I shop for cheese in so many different ways (although some vendors are just wonderful humans and that alone makes me want to visit their shops) that developing trust or seeing the same person each visit can be slower to establish. So my personal cheese shopping rules work for me on budget and purchase by tasting no matter where I happen to buy cheese.

                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                              Delucacheesemonger Mar 6, 2013 07:24 AM

                                                              When prewrapped even with date, a cheese is slowly killed. l insist on each store cut me a piece off a unwrapped chunk, not a selling size. If for whatever reason they say they cannot, l go elsewhere.
                                                              l have worked at 11 cheese stores in four countries over the years and never was in an environment where cheese was prewrapped and precut. The difference may be minimal or it may be monumental. Of these three were W(t)F and the choice of precut was based on the managers opinion not the store policy. We had in Sarasota, Missasaugua, and Toronto an enormous section of wholes and halves and were thrilled to let customers taste and then cut to order.
                                                              When l worked in France, there was no Saran type wrap in the store, thus obviously not an issue.

                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                The Dairy Queen Mar 6, 2013 07:47 AM

                                                                Very interesting, thank you.

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                            3. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                              Melanie Wong Mar 5, 2013 06:47 PM

                                                              Rogers Collection, raw milk Taleggio
                                                              http://www.therogerscollection.com/Wholesale/Cheeses/Italian_Cheeses/Taleggio.pdf

                                                              From Rogers sell-sheet, its organic Taleggio is produced by Arrigoni.
                                                              http://therogerscollection.com/Wholesale/Cheeses/Italian_Cheeses/Taleggio_Biologica.pdf

                                                              Seems like the same that Cowgirl Creamery distributes.
                                                              http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/library-of-cheese/taleggio-organic

                                                              CasArrigoni
                                                              http://www.casarrigoni.it/en/bio-tale...

                                                              Today I dropped by Star Market in Salinas (two hours south of San Francisco) expecting to be able to buy a hunk of Taleggio from the cheesemonger. Nope, none available today. No robiola lombardia either though he pointed me to the Pont-l'Évêque and said it was excellent right now. Since he would need to order any way, I asked what quality level would be coming in. He explained that he cannot move Taleggio priced higher than $15 per pound retail. He said it would be good Taleggio and better than the lesser commercial brands but not the best. He said that the best one he's had is $18 per pound wholesale and not feasible for the local market.

                                                            4. sunshine842 Mar 6, 2013 09:02 AM

                                                              much to my surprise, I can't find it here in France...I can find any of the hundreds of French cheese, plus mozzarella, scamorza, and parmaggiano, but not a single crumb of Taleggio.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                EM23 Mar 6, 2013 09:21 AM

                                                                I suspect that this may be the cheese gods’ way of balancing the universe:)

                                                                1. re: EM23
                                                                  sunshine842 Mar 6, 2013 10:17 AM

                                                                  it could be!

                                                              2. e
                                                                EmBrooks Mar 6, 2013 10:59 AM

                                                                I picked up some Taleggio today (Earthfare, $17.99/lb). Obviously, we'll try some plain, but we are doing grilled pizzas tonight - does anyone know if this would be good melted on a pizza? Other toppings are mushrooms, tomato sauce, sauteed onions and leftover braised lamb shank from last night. Thanks!

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: EmBrooks
                                                                  c
                                                                  cheeseplatesf Mar 6, 2013 11:47 AM

                                                                  I think it's great on pizza - if you use the rind it maybe kind of smelly and stronger tasting. The paste will be sweet and creamy!

                                                                  1. re: cheeseplatesf
                                                                    e
                                                                    EmBrooks Mar 6, 2013 01:30 PM

                                                                    Thank you for your response. I actually just realized that the cheese I purchased is raw milk (it doesn't specify on the label - I called the the store to confirm). This normally would not be an issue, and even preferred, but I am pregnant and raw milk cheeses are not allowed. I'm going to return this wedge and go to my normal cheese place tomorrow to get a pasteurized version. Boo, I got so excited when I saw it that I kind of forgot to check about the pasteurization....

                                                                    1. re: EmBrooks
                                                                      c
                                                                      cheeseplatesf Mar 6, 2013 03:13 PM

                                                                      If you are cooking with it does it really matter if it's made from pasteurized or raw milk? Won't cooking kill any nefarious bacteria?

                                                                      1. re: EmBrooks
                                                                        Veggo Mar 6, 2013 03:22 PM

                                                                        Hmm. "return this wedge". Your store may accomodate you as a courtesy, but they would probably have to throw it out. Do you have a friend you could give it to?

                                                                        1. re: Veggo
                                                                          e
                                                                          EmBrooks Mar 6, 2013 03:57 PM

                                                                          Yes, you can eat raw milk cheese if you cook it, but I want to try it on its own and since I am going to buy it elsewhere to participate in ChOTM don't want a half pound hunk that I can't eat sitting around taunting me.

                                                                          Veggo - Earthfare is a big grocery store. I haven't opened the wedge and when I called the girl told me to bring it back - I didn't ask if I could return it. I would think twice about returning to a smaller cheese store, but don't really have any issues with this since cheese is just a small percentage of what they sell.

                                                                  2. c oliver Mar 6, 2013 04:52 PM

                                                                    A little story.

                                                                    We're leaving on an international trip tomorrow where we'll be travelling for over 20 hours. Our first connection is around lunchtime but is too short to count on being able to buy food. So I went into our newly opened, and oh so wonderful, cheese shop to pick up some goodies for lunch. I told her where we'd be eating it and she was suggesting several things. While listening to her, I spotted a lovely package of taleggio and commented on it. Not intending to buy it but SHE didn't know that. She said "oh, no, I'm afraid the people around you on the airplane wouldn't appreciate your having taleggio." True. But as soon as we return, I'm nabbing some. I've been eating it for probably 25 years and it's a fave.

                                                                    1. pikawicca Mar 6, 2013 05:01 PM

                                                                      For folks who don't have access to an excellent cheesemonger, I highly recommend Murray's online (very expensive) and igourmet. They have extraordinary cheeses. I've only had one problem in many years with igourmet (moldy cloth-wrapped cheddar). They made i right immediately.

                                                                      1. Melanie Wong Mar 8, 2013 11:03 AM

                                                                        Not wanting the week to pass without a taste of Taleggio, yesterday I called the other two cheese shops in the area to see if raw milk product might be available. The Cheese Shop in Carmel is currently selling Defendi pasteurized version. The Whole Foods in Monterey used to sell Defendi raw milk Taleggio for $33/lb, but with the remodel and downsizing of the cheese counter, now only sells one instead of two types of Taleggio and the raw milk lost out. What's available now is Cana de Ambros pasteurized Taleggio, regularly $13.99/lb, on special for $10.99/lb. The discount seems to be in effect in other regions with this flyer showing the same cheese discounted to $12.99/lb.
                                                                        http://www2.wholefoodsmarket.com/storespecials/MET_specials.pdf

                                                                        My first thought was to buy from both stores and compare the two different producers. I went to WF first and poked around the cut pieces looking at packing dates. Bingo! I found two different dates, which presumably represented sections from two different lots. I asked the staffer if she would unwrap them and let me taste both.

                                                                        She offered me a slice of the younger one first. At refrigerator temperature it was quite firm, like a piece of Monterey Jack would be. It tasted vaguely like cream of mushroom soup, that is mostly milky with a little hint of champignon. But mostly it tasted salty, very salty as there was not much else going on. It also had little aroma.

                                                                        The sample of the older one, also cold, was softer to the touch. It had a bit of aroma. The flavor was more developed and the saltiness was more harmonious and did not stick out.

                                                                        I bought the older one. The staffer trimmed off the cut edges that had touched the plastic wrap, and after my taste and the trim, the weight dropped by 1/6 of the original when rewrapped and priced.

                                                                        Once home I followed cheeseplatesf and cheesemaestro's advice. I rubbed the rind with salt brine and put it under a glass dome on the kitchen counter. This morning I rubbed it again with brine and will retaste it later today.

                                                                        Here's the product flyer from Forever Cheese for this taleggio.
                                                                        http://forevercheese.com/products/tal...

                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                          jpr54_1 Mar 8, 2013 12:24 PM

                                                                          I also purchsed the cheese at Whole Foods but in Broward County Florida.
                                                                          My small wedge of the cheese was probably young. Not too salty and a mild taste.
                                                                          They did not have the raw milk one.
                                                                          Where is the date?

                                                                          1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                            Melanie Wong Mar 8, 2013 05:35 PM

                                                                            If you click on the photo on the right in my post to enlarge it for easier viewing, you can see the pack date on both cheeses: 2/27/13 and 3/04/13, plus the sell by date for the piece on the left of 3/20/13.

                                                                          2. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                            Melanie Wong Mar 9, 2013 11:02 PM

                                                                            Wanted to add photos taken on Friday evening about 24 hours after reconditioning with brine to offer a teaching moment to anyone who wants to comment on the appearance. The color brightened in reddish hue and the surface of the rind became a little slimy and tacky to the touch. Once moistened and stored under glass (an overturned pyrex bowl), enough aroma collected that there was some pungency, but I had to lean over and put my nose to it to pick it up. Oh, the paper wrapper was stuck to the surface of the rind and too difficult to scrape off, so I left it there and moistened it as well.

                                                                            Left out at room temperature, the cheese softened and oozed beyond the boundaries of the rind. However, even digging deeper inside, the paste did not have the satiny creaminess that I associate with Taleggio. I fear that this piece might have been under plastic wrap too long (since 2/27) and could not really be revived. The flavor did not grow much stronger than what I tasted when it was cold, other than picking up more salt.

                                                                            Can't tell if this is what Cana de Ambros pasteurized Taleggio is typically like or if this is a condition problem.

                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                              c
                                                                              cheesemonger Mar 10, 2013 12:01 PM

                                                                              Hi Melanie,
                                                                              I love it when people play with their cheese! Your description of how the rind responds to the brine is perfect: "a little slimy and tacky to the touch".

                                                                              There are a lot of factors at play here, and indeed, age may be one of them, also how long it's been since it's been cut, and how long it's been in plastic, which you mention.

                                                                              When I brine taleggio, I do use my mails to scrape a little of the grey molds off, but it's not really necessary. From the look of yours, it looks about right, but of course I can't smell or taste it. I've found taleggio to be so variable, given it's high moisture content, it's all over the map in pungency and ripeness.

                                                                              The real question is- did you like it? Even if it wasn't what you had experienced before?

                                                                              1. re: cheesemonger
                                                                                Melanie Wong Mar 10, 2013 12:56 PM

                                                                                Did I like it? Hmm, I guess I would describe this piece as pleasant enough and that it's chief merit might be that it is inoffensive. I'll monitor it for a couple more days.

                                                                                Perhaps it will be better suited for cooking. For me, I prefer my cheese consumption to be as a cheese course unto itself, made up of cheeses that are full of character. Usually I forgo accompaniments, even bread, and will dig in with just a fork and knife to taste/savor cheese on its own or with some wine. This Taleggio would not make that grade.

                                                                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                  c
                                                                                  cheesemonger Mar 10, 2013 04:35 PM

                                                                                  that's too bad, but I like the way you eat your cheese!

                                                                                  When I have cheese that doesn't make the cut it goes into my 100 cheese fondue bag in the freezer. Then when I'm ready, I thaw it all out, trim what I need to and make fondue out of it. Never had it fail.

                                                                                  I'm sorry that it wasn't a good piece.

                                                                          3. DeborahL Mar 8, 2013 05:16 PM

                                                                            Tried Taleggio for the first time today—Dave MP brought some to a CHOW meeting we were attending. I didn't perceive any strong odor, though I wasn't right there when Dave first opened it. (And maybe that's because it was one of the cheeses on the U.S. market that hasn't been aged long enough?) I also didn't realize the rind was edible; none of us ate the rind but now I realize that probably would've greatly added to the experience. At any rate, I loved this cheese. So creamy and flavorful without being overpowering. Great for topping bread or crackers, or eating with apple slices. And I bet it'd be just as delicious melted in an omelet.

                                                                            19 Replies
                                                                            1. re: DeborahL
                                                                              grayelf Mar 9, 2013 07:48 AM

                                                                              Interesting that you didn't get a pong off it. Not even later when it got to room temp? The taleggio we get here is always pungent.

                                                                              1. re: grayelf
                                                                                DeborahL Mar 11, 2013 10:10 AM

                                                                                Hi grayelf.

                                                                                Nope, never got a hint of stink from the cheese. ("Pong"--that's a new one to me. Great word!) Maybe my sniffer isn't what it used to be. I'll ask Dave MP if he felt differently.

                                                                                1. re: DeborahL
                                                                                  jpr54_1 Mar 11, 2013 11:01 AM

                                                                                  I didn't either

                                                                              2. re: DeborahL
                                                                                pikawicca Mar 9, 2013 11:53 AM

                                                                                I don't think that the rind is edible.

                                                                                1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                  Veggo Mar 9, 2013 02:47 PM

                                                                                  Pika, it absolutely is edible, without hesitation.

                                                                                  1. re: Veggo
                                                                                    pikawicca Mar 9, 2013 03:40 PM

                                                                                    You're a braver man than I am, Gunga Din.

                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                      Veggo Mar 9, 2013 03:49 PM

                                                                                      A true tautology, as you are a woman. At this very moment I'm working through a wedge of stilton with a dense salty rind. Delicious on cracked pepper crispbread.

                                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                                        pikawicca Mar 9, 2013 04:35 PM

                                                                                        Well, "You're braver person than I am, Gunga Din" does not resonate. While some cheese heads agree that Stilton rind is edible, I've never seen it eaten. In England, it's served wrapped in a linen napkin with the top rind cut off. The innards are then scooped out with a special spoon/scoop. (And as for Taleggio, I love it, but the rind is frequently mottled with a disgusting-looking mold -- especially when the cheese is truly ripe and funky.) Why are all of these nasty mental images making me crave cheese now?

                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                          grayelf Mar 10, 2013 08:39 PM

                                                                                          I've never encountered a washed-rind cheese whose exterior was inedible. When very ripe, I often choose not to eat much of the rind as the flavour can become so strong it overpowers the pate. Certainly could see that happening with a neglected taleggio.

                                                                                          Stilton has a natural rind that while edible does not particularly appeal to me. I will make an exception when soaked for several weeks in port however ;-).

                                                                                          1. re: grayelf
                                                                                            sunshine842 Mar 10, 2013 11:48 PM

                                                                                            oh, the sacrifice.

                                                                                            :P

                                                                                            1. re: grayelf
                                                                                              Delucacheesemonger Mar 11, 2013 06:35 AM

                                                                                              'Stilton has a natural rind that while edible does not particularly appeal to me. I will make an exception when soaked for several weeks in port however ;-)'

                                                                                              If you soaked the box the Stilton arrived in in port for a few weeks, l would probably eat that.

                                                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                                                grayelf Mar 23, 2013 06:04 PM

                                                                                                Fair point, well made! We do the ported Stilton thing for Christmas, buying a great wodge of the best one we can find in October, chucking it in a large glass jar and topping it up with a nice port. Push it to the back of the cupboard and forget it till Boxing Day. Drool.

                                                                                          2. re: Veggo
                                                                                            c oliver Mar 10, 2013 10:46 AM

                                                                                            Mister Veggo, I've always eaten the rind.

                                                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                                                              Veggo Mar 10, 2013 10:53 AM

                                                                                              CO, let us know what neat cheeses you find while you are in Istanbul. Glad to see you have wi-fi there.

                                                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                c oliver Mar 10, 2013 10:57 AM

                                                                                                No cheese yet but we did have tavuk gogusu, which is a dessert pudding made from CHICKEN!!!!! Fantastic. Oh, wait, we have had some cheese but nothing noteworthy. More soon. Just got wi-fi a couple of hours ago. C

                                                                                        2. re: Veggo
                                                                                          Dave MP Mar 11, 2013 10:09 AM

                                                                                          Actually, when I bought this particular piece at Whole Foods, the woman at the cheese counter suggested we not eat the rind of the Taleggio I bought. The cheese had been wrapped about 4 days earlier, and it had a small amount of mold on the rind. The rind was also quite hard, and didn't look all that appealing. When I asked about the mold, the woman said it was normal and the cheese was still great, but that she didn't suggest eating the rind.

                                                                                          I agree with DeborahL that the piece I bought wasn't particularly pungent. The woman at the counter also mentioned that I was buying a particularly mild version of taleggio, and I would have been happy to eat something a bit stronger. But I also thought the texture was great, and the overal flavor really nice. Certainly a great substitute for brie, and I'd definitely consider taleggio next time I'm preparing a cheese plate.

                                                                                          1. re: Dave MP
                                                                                            Veggo Mar 11, 2013 11:59 AM

                                                                                            Definitely a complex cheese - difficult to age the flavor/ aroma correctly, simultaneous with an appealing rind.

                                                                                          2. re: Veggo
                                                                                            mcf Mar 31, 2013 03:50 PM

                                                                                            And supremely delicious! I love washed rinds, never leave any behind.

                                                                                        3. re: DeborahL
                                                                                          fldhkybnva Jun 14, 2013 06:25 PM

                                                                                          I just picked up Taleggio and am pondering it in an omelet, good to hear that you think it'd be good melted. I have heard some things that the flavor sort of melts away.

                                                                                        4. h
                                                                                          HillJ Mar 9, 2013 11:13 AM

                                                                                          Just nabbed 3 palm size pieces of Taleggio for $3.00 at the local specialty market. $1.00 of the day mark off bin. Score!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                                                            h
                                                                                            HillJ Mar 13, 2013 09:13 AM

                                                                                            I finally enjoyed one of the pieces of Taleggio today with lunch. Mine was wrapped in very thin paper and had some moldy funk on it, so I cut that off and ate the cheese with thin ham slices and a vegetable salad. I liked the tang and the creamy texture of this cheese and it was the first time I was enjoying it unmelted.

                                                                                          2. r
                                                                                            ratgirlagogo Mar 14, 2013 04:07 PM

                                                                                            As I suspected I will be more of a reader than a contributor to this board. But I'm glad we have so many helpful contributors and I've learned some things (about aging and flavor development, as well about how to revitalize a dried out rind) I didn't know about a cheese I've eaten many times. Very helpful. Bravo Cheese Board mavens!

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                                                              Veggo Mar 14, 2013 04:27 PM

                                                                                              Ratgirl, stick with us. There are some greatly knowledgeable cheese folks here and we are going to pick their minds. We just need to put the right cheese in the trap!

                                                                                              1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                                                                jpr54_1 Mar 14, 2013 04:34 PM

                                                                                                What type of cheese would u like to explore?
                                                                                                What would make u more of a contributor?

                                                                                                1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                  ratgirlagogo Mar 16, 2013 02:58 PM

                                                                                                  What type of cheese? In a way I don't even know enough about it to say. I don't know that there's any kind I WOULDN'T like to explore.
                                                                                                  What would make me more of a contributor? More knowledge, which I hope to gain by reading here.

                                                                                                  1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                                                                    jpr54_1 Mar 16, 2013 03:32 PM

                                                                                                    suggestion for u
                                                                                                    i am also a newbie in selecting cheese.
                                                                                                    It was helpful for me to borrow a book from library.
                                                                                                    There r many good books. I am reading and enjoy
                                                                                                    Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins

                                                                                                2. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                                                                  i
                                                                                                  ItalianNana Mar 15, 2013 04:52 PM

                                                                                                  ratgirl,

                                                                                                  I've been peeking in here and desperately want to participate. I am a blank slate knowledge-wise, but I love cheese and am an enthusiastic explorer. I hope if others are lurking but intimidated that they will just be brave enough to come play. I am much encouraged by the presence of some of my favorite posters. Also, one thing I have learned in the last few weeks about CHers is that the more they know the more willing they are to patiently answer even "dumb" questions. Our naivite gives them a format for sharing their enthusiasm !! :-D

                                                                                                3. Melanie Wong Mar 19, 2013 06:04 PM

                                                                                                  An interesting thing happened on the way to acquiring sample number 2 of Taleggio last week. I called one of my favorite cheesemongers, the Cheese Store of Healdsburg, to find out which one it carried. The answer was, "We don't have any Italian Taleggio right now, only Square", meaning Nicasio Valley's talleggio-like cheese made in Northern California. More info here,
                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/894552

                                                                                                  Next favorite cheesemonger in Sonoma County is Oliver's Market, the branch on Stony Point Rd in Santa Rosa. A call resulted in the happy info that Taleggio was the deal of the day, marked down a couple bucks per pound to $14.99.

                                                                                                  I dashed over to Oliver's and talked to Karen who tasted me on Defendi pasteurized milk Taleggio. This was much riper and fragrant with a decided ooze. I expressed my concern that the top rind was cracked. She said that though it was cracked, it was still moist and in good condition. She explained that at Oliver's, they scrape off the paper wrapper that sticks to the rind and then wrap the cheese in damp clothes to keep the rind at the right humidity. She also said that the cut and wrapped pieces in the case had been cut that morning for the day's special sale. I asked for a small cut, buying $3 worth.

                                                                                                  Left on the counter to come up to room temperature, I had the cheese that evening. By that point the soft and creamy paste had oozed onto the plate. This Defendi tasted much richer and had a glossier, fatty mouthfeel compared to the earlier example of Cana de Ambros. Much, much better for my tastes with more volume of flavor in the mouth. And decidedly pungent in aroma though not as strong on the palate.

                                                                                                  So ripe, this piece started to smell ammoniated by the next morning after spending the night at room temperature. But it was just a small piece and we polished the rest off quickly.

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                                    Veggo Mar 19, 2013 06:08 PM

                                                                                                    Yum! Thanks, Melanie. Calendar quality photo, by the way.

                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                      h
                                                                                                      HillJ Mar 19, 2013 06:10 PM

                                                                                                      Okay, that read like cheese porn. Thank u.

                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                        Melanie Wong Mar 19, 2013 06:14 PM

                                                                                                        So very fleeting. It had one night of peak pleasure left, then was completely spent the next day.

                                                                                                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                                          Veggo Mar 19, 2013 06:19 PM

                                                                                                          Reminds me of....oh, nevermind.

                                                                                                          EDIT: Ok, The Thorn Birds.

                                                                                                      2. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                                        deet13 Mar 19, 2013 06:29 PM

                                                                                                        Yeah that looks good.

                                                                                                        I would have loved to had a pound, and some toast points on which to spread it, along with a couple of pints of English brown ale, or a couple of mugs of a good dry cider.

                                                                                                        Now I need to buy some more beer and cheese for this coming weekend...

                                                                                                        1. re: deet13
                                                                                                          Melanie Wong Mar 21, 2013 02:25 AM

                                                                                                          That's the spirit. The month's not over yet.

                                                                                                          Here's the product info for Defendi Taleggio,
                                                                                                          http://www.qualitycentre.com.au/detai...

                                                                                                      3. e
                                                                                                        EmBrooks Mar 20, 2013 05:17 AM

                                                                                                        I finally got over to the cheese store to buy my Taleggio. Purchased from goat. sheep. cow. in Charleston - it was $26/lb so I purchased a small piece. The rind looked "right" - pinky orange with bits of gray as described by cheesemonger. It was good - I didn't find it overly stinky (but I like stinky cheeses so based on some descriptions I may have been expecting more) but the flavor was nice. I did not care for the rind - tasted a bit musty to me so I just cut it off. I am guessing my piece is a bit underripe since there was definitely no ooze (I left it out for over an hour while I made the rest of dinner and by the time we finished it had been out over 2 hours - the other cheese we had with dinner was a delicious oozy mess after about 30 minutes out of the fridge).

                                                                                                        I have some leftover - can anyone share some advice on ripening it further? Do I just leave it in the fridge for a couple days (it is wrapped in wax paper, then butcher paper from the cheese store)? On the counter?

                                                                                                        I will definitely be more of a student than a contributor to this series, but I love the excuse to try new-to-me cheeses and learn more about old favorites!

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: EmBrooks
                                                                                                          c
                                                                                                          cheesemonger Mar 20, 2013 10:37 PM

                                                                                                          Hi EmBrooks- you're doing great. The first step is exploration, and that's just what you are doing. Nobody jumped out of the womb being a know-it-all about anything, and anyone that acts that way is an ass. :) Keep contributing, keep exploring.

                                                                                                          So, from the pics- the rind looks a bit dry, for sure. Almost all are, unfortunately. It's been awhile since that cheese was in it's happy place.

                                                                                                          As for eating the rind, think about it this way- the rind is significantly different in taste and texture from the rest of the cheese. The thing, for me, is the paste. The rind is what gives us the luxury and flavor of the paste. I have no problem at all with enjoying the paste without the rind. But carving the paste out of a cheese at a party and leaving the scraps on the platter- please don't ever do that. But I digress.

                                                                                                          As for aging after cutting, you're sadly out of luck there. You can help the rind, you can make the piece happy, but once the rind is cut it's all downhill from there, it's all a rescue mission from here out.

                                                                                                          You're in Charleston- have you talked to the people at the Earth Fare counter? They (if memory serves) have good taleggio, and will let you sample!

                                                                                                          1. re: cheesemonger
                                                                                                            e
                                                                                                            EmBrooks Mar 21, 2013 05:14 AM

                                                                                                            I actually first picked up a piece of Taleggio at Earthfare (you are right, they have a great cheese selection) but found out after I got home that it was unpasteurized which I can't eat for four more months.

                                                                                                            Your point about the rind is interesting - when they gave me a taste at the cheese place, she cut off the rind. When I asked her if it was best to eat it w/o the rind she said that she usually does because this brand has paper on the rind. The paper comes off, so maybe it is because the rind was old?

                                                                                                            I am going to swing by Avondale Wine & Cheese today - my regular cheese place - if she doesn't have any in stock, she can get it for me - then it will definitely be fresh!

                                                                                                        2. j
                                                                                                          jlhinwa Mar 21, 2013 11:20 AM

                                                                                                          I found Taleggio on Sunday at a local grocer known for having a great cheese department (Metropolitan Market in Tacoma). They had just a few chunks of Taleggio left and the cheese expert on duty was enthusiastic about what a great cheese it was. Because I had my impatient Mr. jlh with me and was in a hurry, I just bought a chunk rather than ask to try it first. (It was 3/17 and they had lots of Kerrygold sampling going on that day...yummy!) Anyway, it was $18.99/lb. and the rind was the color as described elsewhere in this thread. I am glad I had read that was normal or else I may have been put off by it since it looks so different than other rind cheeses I have had in the past.

                                                                                                          I left it out for about an hour before tasting so it would come to room temperature. It wasn't super runny, but it was very nice and smooth. I loved it...creamy, rich, delicious. The stink didn't bother me at all...I think it enhanced the flavor. My husband and daughter did not agree, but they enjoyed tasting it as well.

                                                                                                          I am really happy to have had the opportunity to try something new. This is definitely going onto my list of cheeses to buy in the future. This is exactly what I was hoping to get from COTM--an opportunity to seek out and try something I might not have done otherwise.

                                                                                                          1. Ruth Lafler Mar 22, 2013 10:03 AM

                                                                                                            I've been trying to cut down on cheese, so I waited until this -- my birthday week -- to participated in COTM. My local cheesemonger had it for $15/lb.

                                                                                                            The piece I got was perfect ripeness: bulging slightly when chilled, and heading towards ooze when brought to room temp. I didn't find it to be overwhelmingly stinky. The flavor had the same characteristics of the aroma, but mellowed by the richness of the cheese. I've eaten it before, but forgotten how good it was.

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                              Jay F Mar 22, 2013 02:40 PM

                                                                                                              Another Aries. Happy Birthday, Ruth.

                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                Melanie Wong Mar 23, 2013 01:14 AM

                                                                                                                Did you happen to find out the producer? I ask because I'm trying to find Taleggio made by Mauri and it seems to not be available.

                                                                                                                Many happy returns!

                                                                                                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                                                  Ruth Lafler Mar 23, 2013 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                  I'll pop my head in and ask.

                                                                                                              2. Melanie Wong Mar 30, 2013 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                Guffanti raw milk Taleggio, purchased at Say Cheese in San Francisco, is a whole 'nuther beast compared to the first two examples I tasted this month. I had a chance to try it side-by-side in the store with Defendi's pasteurized Taleggio. Guffanti was more stiff, drier, solid, ivory in color, and had less pungency vs. Defendi's oozy, soft, ecru color, and stronger scent. The cheesemonger said that the differences are both the producers' style and the raw vs. pasteurized milk. He even pressed the flat of his palm down on the large piece of Guffanti, and it sprang back up, not oozing in the least. When cold, it was quite easy for him to shave off a thin slice for me to taste. Hitting the tongue, the flavor immediately bloomed and did not have as much salt. More volume, more intensity, greater complexity, everything amplified in the Guffanti. Enoki mushroom, beef tea, blanched almond, fruity notes, black truffle, buttery tones.

                                                                                                                I spent my evening circling San Francisco visiting a few friends and tasting them on this cheese. They all agreed it was quite different from other Taleggio they've tried.

                                                                                                                Expensive at $30/lb, but it delivered more than twice the pleasure of taleggios half the price. A little bit goes a long way.
                                                                                                                http://www.guffantiformaggi.com/en/ch...

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                                  cheesemonger Mar 31, 2013 09:59 AM

                                                                                                                  that's awesome- I love this line: "Expensive at $30/lb, but it delivered more than twice the pleasure of taleggios half the price. A little bit goes a long way."

                                                                                                                  I wish everyone would understand this.

                                                                                                                2. Melanie Wong Mar 30, 2013 09:25 AM

                                                                                                                  Photo of a special of the day pizza with prosciutto di Parma and Taleggio at a restaurant in San Francisco

                                                                                                                  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...

                                                                                                                  1. c oliver Apr 2, 2013 02:39 PM

                                                                                                                    I just stumbled across this recipe for balsamic pears with taleggio and thought I'd share. Sounds great and super easy.

                                                                                                                    http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/sto...

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                      h
                                                                                                                      HillJ May 23, 2013 06:21 AM

                                                                                                                      I'm making this recipe (one large tart as opposed to minis tho) for Memorial weekend. Thanks for sharing it here, c o.

                                                                                                                    2. jpr54_1 Apr 6, 2013 08:12 AM

                                                                                                                      At the farmers market today-there was a new merchant selling cheeses from il forteto.
                                                                                                                      They willbe carrying all types of cheeses.
                                                                                                                      I purchased scamorza-
                                                                                                                      Next week I hope they will have other cheeses including taleggio.
                                                                                                                      I discovered that I enjoy some of the cheeses of Italy-bcz of the
                                                                                                                      Ch.OTM
                                                                                                                      Thanx

                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                                                                        k
                                                                                                                        kriminalrat May 12, 2013 02:46 PM

                                                                                                                        Does everyone cut the rind off or eat the rind? Also is tallegio good by itself with a glass of wine or beer? What would it go well with?

                                                                                                                        I just found mauri tallegio at my local Costco.

                                                                                                                        1. re: kriminalrat
                                                                                                                          jpr54_1 May 12, 2013 02:58 PM

                                                                                                                          i cut off the rind.
                                                                                                                          the cheese is good by itself but I have eaten it on carr cracker with shiraz/ cab.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                                                                            jpr54_1 May 22, 2013 06:25 PM

                                                                                                                            I was in NYC and visited

                                                                                                                            Dean and Deluca
                                                                                                                            Murray's Cheese Shop

                                                                                                                            I bought an aged taleggio whiich i ate with my son for dessert this evening. Great delicate taste and smoothe.
                                                                                                                            We ate the rind.

                                                                                                                            I also purchased some goudas to try.

                                                                                                                          2. re: kriminalrat
                                                                                                                            c oliver May 23, 2013 07:26 AM

                                                                                                                            I always eat the rind.

                                                                                                                        2. fldhkybnva Jun 14, 2013 06:27 PM

                                                                                                                          I just picked up my first Taleggio tonight and have a few ideas - omelet, crumbled/schmeared on sauteed spinach or in an omelet. I guess my question is do you prefer it room temperature or melted?

                                                                                                                          1. fldhkybnva Jun 15, 2013 09:28 PM

                                                                                                                            I'm a few months late, but finally tried Taleggio. I was forewarned about the funk but read that the flavor was much more mellow. I decided to melt it over tuna salad on a bed of sauteed spinach. The first few bites were OK, then the funk hit me and every bite sort of tasted like the same socks that it smells like. It wasn't awful, but I'm glad I didn't buy too much. SO liked it so he'll nibble it up. Thanks for the reviews here, they were helpful and gave me the inspiration to add another cheese to my belt for better or worse.

                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                              Melanie Wong Oct 13, 2013 07:43 PM

                                                                                                                              If you melt Taleggio, you need to start with a young one that is milder instead of something older. And probably remove the rind.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                                                                fldhkybnva Oct 13, 2013 09:02 PM

                                                                                                                                As is my rule with all new foods, I gave it a second try just out of hand at room temperature and it was atrocious. I decided we are just not meant to get along, more for everyone else :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                                  Melanie Wong Oct 13, 2013 09:04 PM

                                                                                                                                  What stage of ripeness?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                                                                    fldhkybnva Oct 13, 2013 09:44 PM

                                                                                                                                    Haha, good question, no idea. It seemed pretty ripe to me or does it mellow with age?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                                      Melanie Wong Oct 13, 2013 09:51 PM

                                                                                                                                      No, doesn't mellow with age. It gets stronger, that's why I asked, as a different maturity point might agree with you more. Most is sold on the young side in the US. But as you can see from the comments posted by various people in this thread, a full range of maturities were tried. One of the samplings I had of Defendi was very oozy and ripe, actually overripe. As much as I love Taleggio, that one was unpleasant by the day after I bought it, it was so far gone.
                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8927...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                                                                                                                                        fldhkybnva Oct 13, 2013 10:13 PM

                                                                                                                                        Perhaps I'll give it a third try before it strikes out. Now that I've found a great cheese shop I'm sure they will be able to guide me in the right direction towards good choices.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                                          grayelf Oct 17, 2013 08:06 AM

                                                                                                                                          I know this is not cool in company but I often remove the rind from Taleggio when it is riper. The funk still creeps into the paste enough to give it good flavour but the socks are held at bay.

                                                                                                                            2. Melanie Wong Oct 13, 2013 07:45 PM

                                                                                                                              Yesterday I spotted Quadrello di Bufala, the water buffalo milk version of Taleggio in the case. Tasting the shaved sample, this one was on the young side and relatively mild. Water buffalo milk has a higher fat content, so the paste has a luscious, creamy texture even when semi-firm. I liked it very much.

                                                                                                                              http://forevercheese.com/products/qua...

                                                                                                                              Show Hidden Posts