The rain fell in sheets as I scurried home a couple of weeks ago. No gardening, this was a wet, Scrabble kind of day. A day to nibble and sip, a day for cheese and meat.
No shilly shallying with hummus or dips, this was a day for a simple platter, perfect for pitting my Scrabble wits against a worthy adversary. I already had some Taleggio so I swung by Mediterranean Food Warehouse for some Mortadella, Salami and a delicious wine. Perfect.
If you haven’t had Taleggio my cheesey friends then you must. I reckon it is one of Italy’s best cheeses. Sure it’s a stinker, but get beyond the washed rind nose and underneath it is a sweet, nutty gem.
Taleggio comes from Lombardy up in the Northern part of Italy near the Swiss border. It’s a cow’s milk cheese with a washed rind, an Italian cousin to the less stinky Ramara from Kapiti Cheese and the more stinky Epoisse and Munster from France.
It’s a DOP cheese – that’s Denominazione Origine Protetta. This certification guarantees that the cheese was made by local farmers and artisans, using traditional methods. It’s the Italian version of the French AOC.
My supermarket Tallegio had a pale rind. But usually it has a wonderful terracotta orange rind and is branded with distinctive marks left from a seal and the straw mats it drains on.
Inside it is all velvety, enveloping your tongue with gooey, fruity goodness. I love that combination of tangy and creamy, and totally at odds with how it smells, the ultimate in not judging a book by a cover or rather a cheese by its nose.
By the way you don’t have to eat the rind. I tend to taste it, but sometimes the rind of this kind of cheese can be a bit gritty.
I also treated myself to a good bottle of Italian wine. I’ve beenhijacked by Pinot Noir, so my knowledge of other red wines is a bit limited. But my Cheese app suggested Valpolicella. And it was delicious, really bringing out the nutty caramel flavours.
It’s great to be back on the blog my friends, new job, new dog and new year have pulled me in a few ways, so buon appetito!
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