Taleggio and similar cheeses have been around since Roman times, with Cicero, Cato the Elder, and Pliny the Elder all mentioning it in their writings. The cheese was solely produced in the Val Taleggio until the late 1800s, when some production moved to the Lombardy plain to the south.
Taleggio is a smear-ripened Italian cheese named after the caves of Val Taleggio. It’s one of the oldest soft cheeses produced in every autumn and winter. During cheese making, the acidic milk is brought to the lab and kept on the wood shelves in the chambers as well in caves according to tradition. In order to prevent it from mould infestation, the cheese is washed with seawater once a week. The maturation takes 6 - 10 weeks forming a thin crust.
These days the cheese is made from both pasteurised and unpasteurised milk in factories. These factory-made cheeses have brighter and moderate flavour.
This cheese has been granted a PDO designation and contains 48% fat. The cheese has a strong smell, but its taste is relatively mild with an unusual fruity tang. Taleggio can be served grated on salads. Since it melts well, it can be used in risotto or on polenta.