I have said over and over I LOVE CHEESE! Now that we have established this fact, I love it when I find a new cheese that scintillates my taste buds -one that I can bring to you to experience. Luigi Guffanti is a name synonymous with excellent quality as well as delicious artisan cheeses. One of my favorites created by this master craftsman is Taleggio Vecchio, Valsasina.
Found in the mountain regions of Lombardy, Italy this DOP, washed rind cheese has a damp, reddish crust with a rosy hue and greenish, grey mottling. Easily recognized due to its stamp, label of origin-four circles arranged in a square formation with a T in the center, this taleggio is made from an uncooked paste which is subsequently baked in special rooms at temperatures between 68°F and 86°F to eliminate excess serum. Ripening takes place in natural limestone caves that have been famous since the 18th century for their natural suitability for refining cheeses.
Ripened for a minimum of 40 days, this cow’s milk cheese has an ivory paste that when young I found to be semi-soft, supple and creamy-somewhat mellow in flavor with fruity undertones. As the cheese matured the flavor was more robust and penetrating while the texture became runnier. However, it was never overpowering in flavor. I felt the Vecchio Valsasina’s quality was superior to many of the other Taleggios that I had previously sampled.
The consistency and flavor of the interior wasn’t the only thing that gave it that edge. I was impressed with the yielding and supple crust (compared to others) and the ability that I could eat it if I chose to-which I did, and enjoyed the added kick. I savored my Guffanti, Taleggio Vecchio, Valsasina as I used it in a Risotto with Taleggio and Artichoke Hearts recipe and a glass of Santa Silvana Chianti Classico. Great way to end the day!