A Taleggio from the hills surrounding Bergamo.
Taleggio is a soft pressed, washed rind cow milk cheese form the Lombardy region of northern Italy. It is made from both lightly pasteurized and raw milk, unfortunately the U.S. FDA will not allow the raw milk version to be imported into to the country because it is aged for only 40 days. Taleggio has been given DOP certification which insures the quality of the cheese and the methods of its production. Luckily the Taleggio that is imported to the US is DOP certified and usually comes from the semi- Alpine Valtellina area in the northern part of Lombardy. Here the cheese is produced in small batches by several commercial cheese companies. Thankfully this cheese is getting easier to find in the US.
Tallegio can vary in flavor and the consistency of its inner paste. When it is young (about 40-50 days) it will be fruity and mildly salty with a firm white interior, but as it matures it will become softer ( almost oozy) and will have a beefy buttery flavor with hints of nuts and just a hint of salt. Taleggio has a minimum fat content of 48%. The consistency of a ripe or mature Taleggio is almost like that of a ripe Brie where it bulges but does not get runny. This is a brine washed rind cheese so it will have a bit of a stink. The rind itself is a bit unsightly and will have a pink or slight brick color. It may also have areas of mold on it but this might be hard to see since it comes wrapped in a layer of paper. Do not worry about any mold on the outer rind because it does not affect the integrity or quality of the inner paste. If the outer layer of paper is stuck to the rind or is very hard to peel off this is a sign that the cheese is ripe and in perfect condition to eat and enjoy. If the paper pulls off easily you will have found a young version. Taleggios' rind is considered by a few cheese purists to be edible however most people will remove it. I personally find it to be bitter so I prefer to remove the rind entirely. Once again like Brie, this cheese is alive and will continue to age until it is cut, once it is cut the aging process stops. So if the cut Tallegio you found is young it will remain that way and the full flavor will not develop. The interior paste of a ripe Taleggio should have a slight yellow custard color.