The Cheesemonger: Salva Cremasco

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Name: Salva Cremasco
Producer: Various (Valtaleggio, Italy)
Milk: Raw Cow
Age: 6-8 months
Price: $14.99/lb

It sounds funny to say a cheese tastes "milky." After all, what is cheese but aged milk? But, through the cutting and pressing and washing, something changes and it often loses that sweet lactic flavor we love.

This is not the case with Salva Cremasco.

Salva Cremasco's taste is clean and yes, milky, with a touch of pungency from the washed-rind. To those who are afraid this means it's a "stinky cheese," let me assure you that in this case the wash simply lends a subtle richness to the flavor. The texture is dense and crumbly from aging, which also gives it a distinct saltiness.

Most Italian cheeses are great for cooking, and Salva Cremasco is no exception. Sprinkle some on pasta or grilled bread, or crumble atop a plate of eggplant and tomato gratin. Its salty and versatile flavor matches well with a variety of dishes.

If you're working on a cheese plate and planning on having a bit of Italy's famous Taleggio, you could do no better than to pair it with this cheese. Not only are they produced in the same area, but they have many similarities in their flavor profiles yet enough differences to make for excellent contrast.

Pair it with a bottle of Chianti (but, please, no 'Silence of the Lambs' moments).

Salva Cremasco is available for $14.99 from Murray's Cheese.

(Thanks, Cheesemonger!)

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.

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