The rosy-rinded Taleggio is one of the most known of the stinky cheeses. Yet don't let this cheese's washed rind rondo turn you away; while the smell may be overpowering with a somewhat sweaty, surely surly smell the taste is tangy, meaty, and finishes fruity. This rounded flavor pairs well with caramelized onions, apples, cured meats, and strong mustards.
The cheese gains its flavor and appearance by being set on wood shelves for six to ten weeks, and washed with a seawater sponge to prevent infection from unwanted molds. Developed in the Valtaleggio region in northern Italy, near Lombardy from where it gets its name Taleggio's addictive flavor has made it one of the most popular semi-soft cheeses worldwide.
While delicious on crusty bread I love it melted into a grilled cheese paired with speck (a juniper-flavored ham with slightly coniferous flavors), and strong mustard.
Grilled Cheese with Taleggio and Speck
coarse grain mustard
4 thick slices of speck, diced (optionally, use proscuitto or ham)
6 ounces of Taleggio, sliced and rinds discarded
various mixed greens of your choice
1. Lightly spread mustard over slices of bread. Sprinkle in the diced speck and gently layer on the mixed greens. Top with another slice of bread.
2. Lightly grease skillet and place over medium heat. Brush the outside of the sandwiches with olive oil. Place in the skillet and press down using a spatula and cook until crisp and golden. After about a minute flip the sandwich, press and cook for another minute until golden.
3. Cut in half and serve immediately.