Taleggio is an Italian cheese, semisoft and with a thin and soft rind, that is named after Val Taleggio, an Alpine valley in Northern Italy that was particularly known for the production of this cheese.
Taleggio can be used in a variety of different recipes, from traditional Italian ones to more modern dishes, but just in case you couldn’t find some of this cheese, we’ve prepared a list of the best substitutes for Taleggio cheese.
The best substitutes for Taleggio cheese
Taleggio is a soft Italian cheese, usually produced with whole, raw, or pasteurized cow’s milk, that has a square shape and a thin, soft rind.
Taleggio PDO has an outer surface that shows its mark, composed of four circles, so if you want to make sure you’re getting the real deal, check for the mark that certifies the originality of the product. You should be able to see it even when the cheese is sold portioned.
Taleggio rind has a natural pinkish color and is usually characterized by grey or light sage green mold. The color can vary from white to pale yellow and usually contains a few tiny eyes.
The cheese near the rind is softer, and it’s overall uniform and compact, but when Taleggio is aged, the texture gets more crumbly at the center. The flavor is pretty much sweet and lightly aromatic, with a very slight sour hint.
Taleggio’s ripening process lasts at least 35 days, and it usually happens on planks of wood sponged with salt water once a week.
Taleggio is typically a table cheese that can be eaten on its own or enjoyed as a condiment or a filling for pasta dishes, soups, and crepes. It’s a very digestible cheese and this particular characteristic also increases with aging.
It should be served at room temperature and stored wrapped in a damp cloth to help maintain the softness of the rind.
If you have a recipe that calls for Taleggio but you don’t have this particular cheese on hand, or you don’t like its flavor and would prefer something else, these are the best substitutes for Taleggio cheese you could use.
1. Bel Paese
The first Taleggio cheese substitute we’re going to talk about is Bel Paese, a pretty similar semi-soft cow’s milk cheese also originating from Italy.
Bel Paese usually matures for six to eight weeks and has a creamy and milky light aroma that will be perfect if you find the taste of Taleggio a bit too tangy or overpowering.
It has a pale, creamy yellow color and it’s usually made in small discs. Bel Paese is usually eaten as a snack or a dessert cheese, but can also be used on pizza as a mozzarella substitute thanks to its melting properties.
Bel Paese is also amazing when incorporated into soups, and makes a great addition to any sandwiches. It’s overall a great substitute for Taleggio, especially if you’re not looking to recreate the same exact taste.
A second really good Taleggio alternative is Fontina, another Italian washed-rind cheese that is used in a variety of different recipes and is known for its melting properties.
Fontina can vary from semi-soft to hard in texture and mild to medium-sharp in flavor, depending on the aging of the cheese. Its milk fat content is around 45% and has a characteristic nutty and savory flavor.
Keep in mind that Italian Fontina has a pungent aroma and a tangy kick similar to Taleggio, while those produced in other countries tend to be milder and softer.
Fontina is used in a wide variety of dishes, including risotto and fondue, and can also be used as melting cheese on pizza.
The main difference between the two is that Fontina has a few small holes and a slightly rougher texture, but it can work amazingly if you need a Taleggio substitute in a recipe that calls for melting cheese.
Brie is another soft cow’s milk cheese, commonly available in the majority of supermarkets, but named after the French region from which it originated.
Brie can come in many varieties and flavors, depending mostly on the ingredients used and its manufacturing environment, but it usually has a creamy and more subtle flavor than Taleggio. If you’re looking for a more similar taste, you can go for Brie de Melun, which is more pungent.
This French cheese is easily spreadable, has a rough exterior with a smooth and creamier inside, and is made of a multitude of molds, making it an ideal Taleggio cheese alternative.
Brie can be baked in the oven, can be used to make grilled cheese, and is also amazing when put on a cheese board with bread and fruit preserves. It’s the perfect substitute for Taleggio if you prefer a milder flavor.
Another cheese like Taleggio is Limburger, a cheese that originated in the now French-speaking Belgian province of Liège.
Limburger is particularly well known for its strong smell, so this works really well if you love the tangy smell of Taleggio and you’re looking for something with a similar aroma.
Young Limburger is firmer and more crumbly, much like feta, but after about six weeks it becomes softer and a bit saltier. When it reaches two months, the cheese is much creamier, and when it gets to three months, Limburger stars producing its famous smell.
This happens because of the bacterium used to ferment the cheese, Brevibacterium linens, which gives Limburger its distinctive aroma.
Limburger can be used for melting, can be spread on bread when it has reached two months, and can also be sliced and eaten in a sandwich.
Robiola is one of the best Taleggio cheese replacements: it’s a soft cheese that comes from the same “Stracchino” family as Taleggio.
Robiola is usually made from cow’s milk, but it can also include sheep or goat’s milk. There are several varieties of Robiola, and they can vary in color from a slightly straw-yellow to a milky white with pink rind.
The cheese has a full, tangy, and mildly sour flavor, possibly due to its high-fat content, and its rind can be cut away.
Robiola is usually served as a table cheese, but can also be used in several recipes like risotto or pasta. It’s also a pretty spreadable cheese, so it works well on bread and crackers.
Robiola works pretty well as a Taleggio substitute, especially if you’re looking for something that doesn’t quite have the same tangy taste.
If you choose to use this cheese, remember that it’s better to store it in the refrigerator unwrapped in its crust, or wrapped in paper.
Another cheese similar to Taleggio is gruyere, which fruity hints make it an amazing substitute for Italian cheese.
Gruyere is a hard yellow Swiss cheese made from cow’s milk, with a taste that varies widely depending on its age, while overall keeping a slightly sweet and nutty undertone.
Gruyere has amazing melting properties and can be used in savory dishes, salads, soups, or any other recipes that call for Taleggio. The pale color makes it also really appealing to the eye, so that’s definitely a plus.
Havarti is a semi-soft cheese that comes from Denmark, with a pale yellow color and a buttery aroma. It’s a great Taleggio substitute if you don’t like strong tastes.
Havarti has no outside rind, is very smooth, and has a combination of sweet, buttery, and slightly acidic notes to its taste. It’s a pretty mild cheese, and that’s what makes it a perfect option to please everyone.
Havarti is mostly used as a table cheese, but it’s also suitable for slicing, grilling, and melting. It’s also a perfect choice to go on a cheeseboard alongside hard cheeses.
8. Pont-l’Évêque cheese
Pont-l’Évêque is a fantastic substitute for Taleggio cheese, as it’s a really popular cheese from France with a milder pungent smell.
The central part of the cheese is a very soft, creamy pale yellow, with a smooth texture and a pungent aroma, which is perfect if you like the tangy notes of Taleggio. It’s surrounded by a washed ring that shouldn’t be eaten.
The texture is also pretty similar to Taleggio, and you can use Pont-l’Évêque as a slice of melting cheese, too. It can be used in a variety of different recipes, and it works overall well as a Taleggio substitute.
9. Gorgonzola dolce
One last good substitute for Taleggio cheese is Gorgonzola dolce, which means sweet Gorgonzola in Italian, and it’s a very popular cheese worldwide.
Gorgonzola dolce is a soft, buttery cheese that takes its name from a town near Milan, in Northern Italy, and it’s made from pasteurized cow’s milk.
It has a pale yellow color and a melty paste, with a wide distribution of blue and green veins. The rind is rough, with a grey or pinkish color, and it’s not edible. It must be aged for a minimum of 45 days to really develop its characteristics.
This can work as an amazing substitute for Taleggio if you’re looking for something with just a slightly milder taste: Gorgonzola dolce has a sweet, mild flavor with notes of sour cream and just a bit of a tang.
Gorgonzola dolce can be used to flavor all kinds of pasta dishes and risotto, so it can work as a really great Taleggio substitute in the majority of the recipes.
How to choose a Taleggio cheese substitute
Choosing the right Taleggio substitute depends mostly on the recipe you’re following and on your own personal taste: the choice will mainly be influenced by how much you actually enjoy the typical Taleggio cheese taste, which is quite tangy.
If you’re looking for a Taleggio replacement because you don’t particularly enjoy its taste, Bel Paese, Brie, Robiola, Havarti, and Gorgonzola dolce is your best bet. They all work great in any kind of recipe, from melting to filling.
If you’re looking for a Taleggio replacement with a similar aroma, Fontina, Limburger, Gruyere, and Pont-l’Évêque cheese are all great choices, and they also work great as substitutes in every recipe that calls for Taleggio.