Taleggio cheese is one of the oldest semi-soft cheeses still being produced. Records of this Italian cow’s milk cheese date back to around 1200. Being cave ripened, its flavor is mild and fruity, with a tangy undertone. The sought-after texture is creamy and it gives off a pungent aroma.
Although Taleggio isn’t exactly a mainstream cheese in the United States, it does occasionally pop up in recipe books. Its melting properties make it an excellent candidate for fondue or melted onto risotto and pasta. Perhaps its best use is on a cheese platter; the salty flavor is excellent paired with fresh fruit like grapes, that are bursting with sweet juice.
Finding Taleggio cheese isn’t always easy, and it is also expensive compared to the mass-produced cheeses like Camembert or cheddar. If you’re looking for a Taleggio substitute then keep reading – we’ve compiled the top five options to help you finish that recipe without it.
5 substitutes for Taleggio cheese
Although the following list won’t perfectly mimic the properties of Taleggio, each has some similarities that will allow you to use them for similar purposes in the kitchen.
A versatile all-rounder that isn’t overly expensive.
The taste of Gruyere will vary widely depending on its age; however, it tends to have a slightly sweet and nutty undertone. In cooking, it has similar uses to Taleggio, such as melting into savory dishes, salads, soups, or grated into a soufflé.
In a nutshell, gruyere won’t offer the same flavor, but it won’t be out-of-place used as an alternative. Its purpose is to add a new spin to your dish, without the price tag that comes with Taleggio.
2. Bel Paese
For those that find the aroma and taste of Taleggio too overpowering.
Bel Paese is also a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese originating from Italy. If you find the aroma of Taleggio offensive or its taste too tangy and overpowering, then Bel Paese is an excellent alternative.
This cheese has a mild milky aroma with a pleasant taste that is best compared to Mozzarella. Bel paese is delicious on pizzas and incorporated into casseroles and soup. It also makes a great addition, sliced into sandwiches and is a good choice as a dessert cheese.
Ideal for mimicking the punchy aroma and tangy flavor.
Another Italian washed-rind cheese that is steeped in tradition is Fontina which makes an excellent cheese for melting. It has a pungent aroma and tangy kick that is similar to Taleggio.
Use Fontina is a wide variety of recipes including risotto, chowder, fondue, and shredded onto a gratin. Combine Fontina with Mozzarella to create an excellent pizza cheese which is stretchy and flavor-packed.
An affordable option that offers a softer texture.
Brie is a cow’s milk cheese that is commonly available in supermarkets throughout the U.S. Most varieties have a more subtle, creamier flavor than Taleggio, and it is also much softer.
If you’re serving a cheese board for people who don’t enjoy strong flavors, then brie is a better option. Another tasty use for brie is to bake it in the oven, smothered in honey and nuts. The inside becomes warm and runny and makes a mouth-watering centerpiece on the table.
For a more intense cheese experience.
Limburger featured on our list of the smelliest cheeses so you can probably guess that it has an offensive smell for some. If you think that the stronger the aroma, the better, then give Limburger a test-run. It has a mild, earthy flavor and a unique mushroom-like undertone.
Like all the cheese types on this list, it is suitable for melting. Add a slice to an “ultimate gourmet burger”, creamy rigatoni, or eat it the traditional way – with purple onion and thick slabs of fresh rye bread.
What flavors pair well with cheeses on this list?
If you’ve decided to use your cheese for a platter then you’ll need some flavors that pair well with it. Some good options include:
Can taleggio be frozen?
If you enjoy Taleggio and are on this page because you’ve run out, you may want to freeze a block or two for situations like now? To freeze the cheese, cover tightly in plastic wrap and then place in an airtight container. Defrost in the refrigerator for a few hours before using it. Thawed cheese can be used in any application that you would use if it hadn’t been frozen.
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If you need a Taleggio cheese substitute then Gruyere, Bel Paese, Fontina, Brie, or Limburger are all useful options. Although each cheese is unique, you’ll find they all have good melting properties, making them ideal for most popular Taleggio recipes.
There are many other substitutes you could consider. Robiola, Grayson, Livarot, Urgelia, and Gorgonzola are all options to test out next time you’re cooking. Another type you may want to try is goat cheese. Like taleggio, it has a tart flavor and it melts well – but it also has a distinct flavor that can only be produced by using goat’s milk.
Do you have another backup option that you use instead of Taleggio? Please let us know in the comments below and we’ll give it a try.