Our wheels of taleggio are made in the tiny mountain village of Berghera di Taleggio. If you drive the one lane road up the Val Taleggio about two hours from Bergamo, itself about 30 miles northeast of Milan, you'd probably fall off the mountain before you ran into Signore Amgroggio. He's been there a long time, but his operation is tiny. His family has been making cheese since 1924.
One of the most significant aspects of this cheese is that it's real Taleggio. It's got that rich, flavorful kick. There are a lot of cheeses made to look like Taleggio, but they’re often not aged as long, nor are they aged in caves. The cave is the key. It doesn't have to spend a long time in the cave, in fact only about two months. Some firms snatch the Taleggio from the cave after just a month, imagining that the cheese will ripen well on the trucks and boats that get it to its destination. It will ripen. But not well. You need the cave to give Taleggio its trademark flavor. Aging outside the cave tends to make it bitter.
I love Taleggio's pasty, dense texture…it slowly melts as you push it warmly against the roof of your mouth. The smack of salt subsides and then waves of competing flavors rush to take its place. Traditionally, it's not used in much cooking, but a couple slices would top a bowl of polenta or risotto very well.
Mild with a milky sweetness, the wheels we've just opened end with a slightly earthy finish and a good dose of that classic Tallegio mushroom funkiness. An interesting addition to any cheese tray.