The great thing about cheese is that there are so many different types of it available.
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Due to the wide range, there are lots of cheeses that exist in the same family like others, giving you plenty of options if you fancy a change.
Every cheese lover has a specific type of cheese which is their favorite. It might be cream cheese, it might be blue cheese, or it could be traditional English Cheddar.
Whatever cheese you love, there are always going to be options that are similar to it which you can try when you fancy a change.
With that in mind, today we’re looking at Taleggio cheese. This cheese of Italian origin is extremely yummy, and it also has the benefit of having lots of other cheeses that are similar to it.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to some of the best alternatives for Taleggio Cheese which are equally satisfying, so if you fancy a change, keep on reading.
What is Taleggio cheese?
Taleggio cheese is of Italian origin and it is of a semi-soft consistency. It is a pungent cheese that is protected by a thin layer of crust, but it has a surprisingly mild taste.
Despite its mild taste, it does have a tang to it which is completely unique and is one of the main reasons that it is so popular.
It can be used in a variety of different dishes, but in particular, it is a popular choice for use in salads and on Italian dishes, such as bruschetta.
Taleggio cheese has come a long way since its early start in Italy, and it is now commercially available in most grocery stores. But where did Taleggio cheese originate? Let’s take a brief look at the history of this yummy cheese.
A Brief History of Taleggio Cheese
As we have already mentioned, Taleggio cheese is of Italian origin and its history can be traced all the way back to the days when the Romans occupied the country.
In fact, Taleggio cheese gets its name from the region of Italy that it was produced in, as it was solely produced in the Val Taleggio area until the late 1800s.
Since then production has expanded, first across Italy, and then across the world as Taleggio cheese became commercially more available.
Despite the fact that Taleggio cheese is no longer produced in the Val Taleggio region, the cheese retains its name from the area it was originally made in.
The taste of commercial Taleggio cheese is slightly different from the original Taleggio cheese, but both types retain their unique tangy flavor.
But that’s enough about the history of Taleggio cheese, let’s take a look at some of the alternatives you could use which are equally as yummy.
The first alternative to Taleggio that we would recommend is Brie. Brie is a cheese of French origin, but other than this it is very similar to Taleggio cheese.
Both Brie and Taleggio cheese are made using cow’s milk, and they are both semi-soft cheese with a pungent smell but a mild taste. They both have a creamy texture and are soft enough to effortlessly spread ready to eat.
So if you fancy a change from your regular Taleggio cheese, Brie could be an excellent choice.
Alternatively, you could choose to substitute your Taleggio cheese with Gruyere. While Brie is very similar in texture to Taleggio, Gruyere has a completely different consistency.
Gruyere is Swiss cheese and it comes in the traditional yellow color that you expect from cheese, but it differs from Taleggio as it does not have a semi-soft consistency. Instead, gruyere is usually found in a sliced variety where you can clearly observe natural holes in its design.
Despite its difference in consistency, gruyere is an excellent substitute for Taleggio because of its taste, so if you fancy a change, you should try gruyere.
Another great choice is Bel Paese. Bel Paese differs from Taleggio as it does not have the trademark pungent smell, but the smell aside, it is very similar.
Bel Paese is often seen as the option for people who like Taleggio cheese but don’t like the smell, as the taste is almost identical.
Bel Paese is an Italian cheese of the semi-soft variety with a mild taste that has the same melting properties as Taleggio. So if you are fed up with constantly eating Taleggio cheese, why not try Bel Paese for a change?
If you are feeling adventurous, you could give Urgelia cheese a try instead. Urgelia is a cheese of Spanish origin that is produced using cow’s milk to create a semi-soft consistency.
Due to its semi-soft design, it is commonly compared to Taleggio, but there are actually quite a few differences between these two types of cheese. In particular, Urgelia tastes fairly different from Taleggio.
They are both in the same area of cheese, but Urgelia has a saltier and more buttery taste rather than being mild. So if you fancy giving a cheese that has a bit more flavor a go, then Urgelia could be the right one for you.
Additionally, Limburger is an excellent alternative to Taleggio. This is another great option if you are interested in something that is a bit stronger in taste than Taleggio cheese is.
Unlike in Taleggio cheese where the strong smell does not match the flavor, in Limburger cheese, the taste is just as strong as the smell so that both of your senses match.
Despite the differences in taste, Limburger and Taleggio are produced in the same way which is why they both have a similar smell, and why Limburger is an excellent alternative to Taleggio.
If you fancy a hunt for the perfect alternative, then Fontina might be the right one for you.
There are a variety of different types of Fontina available, but to find the one that tastes the closest to Taleggio, you will have to search all the way back to its origins in Italy.
The commercial options of Fontina are great, but they have a much milder taste and smell than the original Fontina cheese.
Nothing can beat the taste of the original Fontina cheese, so if you are interested in trying something new, and don’t mind searching for it, then Fontina cheese is the best alternative.
If it wasn’t already clear that Italy is the producer of some of the best cheeses in the world, then this one will seal the deal.
Robiola is yet another excellent Italian cheese that is actually part of the same family as Taleggio.
Robiola has a slightly different appearance to Taleggio as it is much yellower, but it shares the mild yet tangy taste, which is why it is such a great substitute.
Similar to Taleggio, Robiola is incredibly versatile, making it an excellent alternative if you don’t want to be disappointed.
Alternatively, you could choose to try Havarti. Havarti is different from the other cheeses that we have looked at thus far as it originates from Denmark.
This cheese is of the semi-soft variety, except it differs from Taleggio as it does not come with a rind.
Havarti has a strong smell but it is quite different from the other cheeses we have looked at as it gives off a sweet smell rather than a pungent, sour scent.
This cheese is most commonly served in slices so that you can appreciate its natural appearance, so if you fancy a sweeter alternative to Taleggio, this is a satisfying option.
Finally, the final alternative that we would suggest is Pont-l’Eveque, which is a cheese that is traditionally made in France.
This cheese is incredibly similar to Taleggio as it is part of the washed-rind family so it shares the similar pungent smell that a lot of the other cheeses we have looked at have.
It also has a similar taste, and an incredibly similar texture to Taleggio cheese, so it can be easily substituted for Taleggio in a variety of dishes.
So if you want to try an alternative to Taleggio cheese which is just as satisfying, we would recommend giving Pont-l’Eveque a try.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Taleggio a blue cheese?
No, Taleggio cheese does not belong to the blue cheese family. Instead, Taleggio cheese belongs to the soft cheese family and is white. A lot of people believe that Taleggio cheese is part of the blue cheese group because it has a strong and, sometimes, stinky smell. This smell is, of course, a key characteristic of blue cheese. But Taleggio cheese doesn’t have any blue mold, so it isn’t part of this group.
Taleggio cheese is also often mistaken for blue cheese as it is very similar to Strachitunt. Both of these cheeses are of Italian origin, and have a very similar taste and consistency. But Strachitunt contains blue mold which makes it belong to the blue cheese family, whereas Taleggio cheese does not.
So even though it has a very pungent smell, Taleggio cheese is not part of the blue cheese family. Instead, it is part of the white soft cheese family.
What is Taleggio cheese used for?
Despite its incredibly strong smell, Taleggio cheese is highly versatile and can be used for lots of different dishes. This is mainly because Taleggio cheese has a very mild taste, despite its pungent odor, with a slight tang which makes it perfect for complimenting the ingredients in a variety of dishes.
Taleggio cheese is not only versatile in terms of the dishes it can be used in, but also in the ways which it can be used. Despite it being fairly soft, Taleggio cheese can be grated and makes an excellent addition to a salad if you want to alter the flavor. Taleggio cheese also melts very well making it a great ingredient for risottos and polenta.
So, despite its strong smell and soft consistency, Taleggio cheese can be used in lots of different dishes.
Are Pecorino and Manchego cheese similar?
Yes, Pecorino and Manchego cheese are very similar to one another. This is because both of these cheeses belong to the hard cheese family, alongside other famous cheeses like Parmesan. If you were to categorize these cheeses you would have Parmesan on the mild end of the scale with Manchego on the tastier end of the scale, and Pecorino somewhere in between.
Due to the huge similarities between Pecorino and Manchego cheese, they can be substituted for one another in recipes. So if you do not have any Manchego cheese available you can replace it with Pecorino cheese and vice versa. The only big difference between these cheeses is that Manchego has a slightly more refined taste than Pecorino.
So if you are using Manchego cheese instead of Pecorino cheese in a recipe, use slightly less as the taste can be a little overpowering at times.
How does Manchego cheese taste?
Even though Manchego and Pecorino cheese are very similar, there is one major difference, and that is the taste. Manchego cheese has a very intense taste with a zesty tang that stays in your mouth even once you have finished eating it. This is why Manchego cheese is great for adding to different dishes as the tangy taste can really compliment a lot of recipes. Especially with the slightly salty taste that makes it perfect for savory dishes.
Manchego cheese has a crumbly texture which compliments the taste excellently. As we have said, Manchego cheese has a strong taste so if you were to eat it in large quantities it could be overpowering. But as it is crumbly, it means you will only eat a small amount at a time.
So, Manchego cheese basically tastes strong with a slightly salty and zesty tang, which is why it compliments so many recipes so well.
In short, there are lots of excellent alternatives that you can use instead of Taleggio cheese if you fancy a change.
The recommendations that we have given have been based solely on taste and texture, but there are an endless amount of cheeses out there which you can try to find the one that you like best.