The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat Taleggio. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.
What Taleggio etiquette is
Taleggio etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat Taleggio. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.
If you are hosting, follow Taleggio etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.
If you are a guest, respect Taleggio etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.
What you should know about Taleggio
Taleggio is a semi-soft cheese from Italy. It is a typical product of Lombardy, Piedmont, and Veneto, in northern Italy.
Taleggio is made from pasteurized cow’s whole milk. Its aging time is at least 2 weeks, on average 6 weeks.
It is semi-soft in texture. Its paste is pale yellow in color. Its thin rind ranges between brownish and light orange. Taleggio has a distinctive flavor and a strong smell.
Etiquette tips to serve and eat Taleggio
1) How to store Taleggio
Store Taleggio in the fridge. As a semi-soft wet-rind cheese, it has a short shelf life. You should eat it within a few days from the purchase.
After opening it, wrap it in parchment paper or waxed paper. Ideally, place the cheese in a sealed container too. It is best to avoid plastic or aluminum foil. Properly stored, Taleggio can last for up to 1 or 2 weeks.
In the freezer, Taleggio can last for about 2 months. However, freezing affects the taste and texture of the cheese. Thus, freeze Taleggio only if you plan to use it for cooking.
Store dishes with cooked Taleggio in the fridge. They can last for up to 2 to 3 days.
2) How to clean Taleggio
You do not need to wash Taleggio.
If the cheese has a foul smell, it has gone bad. You should discard it immediately. If you notice mold only on a small area of its surface, slice it and discard the slice that has gone bad.
3) How to cook Taleggio
Taleggio is ideal for baking. It melts well and has a distinctive taste.
Thus, it is ideal in baked dishes with several vegetables. Potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, or mushrooms. It is perfect in quiches, savory pies, casseroles, or soufflés.
You can add it to pasta, pizza, polenta, or risotto.
Taleggio is also a popular ingredient for sandwiches. Due to its semi-soft and creamy texture, it is not common in salads.
4) How to serve & present Taleggio
Serve Taleggio in a large block. Present it with its own knife. It is less common to present it in smaller slices. Do not remove the rind before serving.
Taleggio can be served as an appetizer or in a cheese course.
As an appetizer, serve it with a small selection of cheeses and charcuterie.
In a cheese course, serve it after the meal and before the dessert. Include it on a cheese platter. Arrange cheeses by flavor or aroma, from mildest to strongest. Due to its strong aroma, Taleggio should be one of the last cheeses to be eaten.
Serve Taleggio at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge between 30 minutes and 1 hour before serving.
Accompany it with bread or crackers.
5) Food and wine to pair Taleggio with
Taleggio pairs well with charcuterie from Italy. Prosciutto Crudo. Speck. Varieties of Salami from Lombardy or Piedmont. It goes well with eggs, pasta, rice, and polenta.
Do not pair it with fish or seafood.
Taleggio goes well with fresh fruits, such as pears, apples, or grapes. With nuts, such as walnuts or pine nuts.
Pair Taleggio with sparkling Franciacorta. Red wines such as Barbera, Nebbiolo, or Pinot Noir. White wines like Riesling or Soave.
6) How to eat Taleggio
The rind is soft and edible. You should not discard it. If you cannot stand the flavor or texture, use a knife to remove it. Leave the rind on the side of your plate.
Eat Taleggio with a fork and a knife. Alternatively, place bite-sized pieces on bread or on a cracker.
Due to its soft texture and strong smell, you should avoid eating Taleggio with your fingers.
Taleggio etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst Taleggio etiquette mistakes.
- 9/10. Serving spoiled Taleggio.
- 7/10. Pairing Taleggio with fish or seafood.
- 5/10. Eating Taleggio with your fingers.
- 2/10. Discarding the rind.
Additional information for properly serving Taleggio
How many calories per serving?
Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.
Taleggio contains 315 calories per 100 grams. A single serving is around 30 grams and contains 95 calories.
How to buy the best Taleggio
A crucial factor in Taleggio etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.
Season and availability
Taleggio is produced in autumn and winter. Thus, the best cheeses will be available in late winter and in the spring.
Choose the best
The best Taleggio must come from northern Italy. More specifically, from a few designated areas:
- Lombardy: Bergamo, Brescia, Milan, Como, Lecco, Cremona, Pavia, or Lodi.
- Veneto: Treviso.
- Piedmont: Novara.
It should have a DOP (denominazione di origine protetta) seal on its packaging. The seal guarantees that the cheese was produced in a designated area and that the cheesemakers respected all the quality requirements.
Alternatives to Taleggio
The ideal substitute depends on how you plan to use the cheese.
The most common alternatives are Fontina, Gouda, Gruyere, Cheddar, Comté, or Emmental.