The story (and, consequently, the knowledge) of Italian gastronomy has always been related to cities and villages. Every single dish, every ingredient (even the simplest, such as a rustic loaf of bread, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, a tomato sauce or a piece of cheese) hide stories of places and people that have made each product of the Italian cuisine special, unique, and precious.
The Taleggio cheese is one of these examples. Its history is as ancient as the beautiful, fairytale village perched on the mountains from which it takes its name. Taleggio (province of Bergamo in Lombardy, Northern Italy) has ancient origins, dating back to Roman times. In this place, around the tenth century, was born one of the typical Italian PDO cheeses. The dairy farmers, proud of their products, decided to distinguish their cheese production from that of other areas. Taleggio is a cheese with well-defined characteristics from sweet, aromatic taste and, in some cases, a truffle aftertaste. It will keep for weeks in the refrigerator but it should be wrapped in a moist towel to maintain the softness of the crust.
Even the “Radicchio rosso”, Italian chicory, from Treviso (city of Veneto Region, Northern Italy) has ancient origins. Its benefits were even known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Also known as the “winter flower”, for its elegant appearance, and cultivated since the sixteenth century, as many ingredients of Italian cuisine, the red radicchio was a poor food, also used as feed for animals. Today, it is used raw to enrich and give color to salads and cooked, especially as a condiment for risotto. Like other traditional ingredients, this vegetable is also very versatile and is perfect for simple recipes to add a unique taste.
Taleggio, radicchio and pears (in Italian, pairing fruit and cheese is very old and has been the subject of study by many scholars of gastronomy and history of popular traditions) and a simple puff pastry, give life to an easy recipe, with an inimitable Italian taste.
Taleggio cheese and radicchio tartlets: Ingredients
2 ripe pears
100 g (3½ oz) Taleggio cheese
2 radicchio (red chicory) leaves
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 sheet (or about one 14 ounce package) organic palm oil free puff pastry
Taleggio cheese and radicchio tartlets: Method
- Peel the pears and cut into cubes. Cut the cheese into cubes. Wash the radicchio and cut into strips.
- Roll out the pastry on 3 small molds for canapes or tarts.
- Cover in order with pears, Taleggio, and radicchio.
- Bake, in preheated oven, for 20 minutes at 180°C (350°F/ gas 4).
- Once warmed, seasoned with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.