Day 89-Tete de Moine AOC

I have been sampling great Canadian cheeses for this last week, but I am now going to deviate from this and round out another 7 or so International cheeses that I want to cover before it is over.  Then it’s back to Canada for the last five.  That’s the plan.  Actually, I’m not sure I can really stop at 100.  It’s become a lifestyle for me.  We shall see!

It’s back to Switzerland for Tete de Moine.  First made in the 1100’s by monks at the Bellelay monastery in the Bernese Jura mountains, the production predictably moved from the monks to the farms controlled by the monastery.  See how hard it is to get a good Monk’s cheese these days? Tete de Moine was given to the monastery as a tithe by the locals- one cheese per monk per farm-family.  Tete de moine actually means Head of the monk.  Some debate exists as to whether this refers to the tithing-per monk’s head-or to the fact that monks had shaved heads or a tonsured appearance which sort of resembles Tete de Moine. Who knows?

Tete de Moine is made from raw cow’s milk. The cheese is still made by the descendents of those local farmers who once tithed it to the monks.  It is currently produced in nine village dairies.  After being formed the cheese is immersed in a brine bath for 12 hours.  This expels water and starts the rind forming.  The cheese is then placed on a pine board where it matures for at least 75 days in a humid and moist cheese cellar.  It is cared for and flipped regularly as well as being brushed with a brine containing salt and bacteria.  This bacterial bathing perhaps explains the super funky smell of this cheese.  Although it doesn’t look like it, Tete de Moine is a washed rind cheese- and those, my friends, are little stinkers. As Tete de Moine is an AOC cheese, the milk from the cows has to come from a limited geographic region and the techniques used to make the cheese are carefully regulated.

Tete de Moine is traditionally shaved and formed into a rosette when being eaten.  These days most people use a specially designed device called a girolle machine to make the cheese rosettes.  Apparently shaving the cheese into this shape allows for lots of oxygen to mix with the cheese and to encourage the flavour.  Tete de Moine and girolles are extremely popular in Switzerland and can be found just about anywhere.  Not so in Canada, where I have had to make do with a paring knife.

I have to address the odour of this cheese. Tete de Moine is by far the stinkiest cheese I have run across in 89 cheeses.  I was initially drawn to it because of its outrageously vile odor.  I couldn’t believe that anyone would spend money on something that smelled like that, so of course-I did.  I have actually had a few house guests smell this one through its wrapper as a party trick-all have recoiled in horror.  Have you ever stuck your finger in your belly button after a really hot day, squished it around, and then smelled it?  That smell, my friends, one could aptly describe as “tete de moine-like.” My children claim that it smells like “throat cheese,” and no- that’s one cheese I will not be reviewing.  It’s really hard to describe how horrible this cheese smells-go and sniff some if you see it in the market, I dare you.  It smells like sickness, and rot, and pain and dirty things excreted by humans.  It looks innocent enough, a half circle of firm yellow cheese with a natural brown rind, it’s kind of crumbly and kind of sticky, but it just smells freaking awful.  Have I been clear enough about this?  It could be used as a torture device.

Here goes…

What the hell is wrong with people?  No, seriously, people eat this cheese? It tastes like old sweaty, raunchy, arm pits mixed with crotch.  Seriously, I can’t eat anymore.  I can’t see how shaping it into a rosette would have any effect on this taste…really, you want more oxygen to bring out the flavour?  Are you freaking insane? Tete de Moine kind of tastes like Emmenthaler gone bad.  There’s that firm almost parmesan texture, and then that alcohol backed mountain cheese taste, but you can’t even think about any of that because you just want to be sick.  God, I think I am going to be sick.  Is it some kind of joke?  Clearly, this one is not my slice of cheese, but if it is yours, perhaps you can speak to a professional.

Day 58-Oka (Agropur Signature)

I’m excited to be tasting and reviewing Oka cheese today. Oka is perhaps the first non-Industrial cheese I ever tasted-ironically, it’s now an industrial cheese-but back in the 1980’s a Québécois friend of ours dropped by with a wedge of cheese unlike anything we had ever seen or smelled before.  It wasn’t orange, or marbled and it didn’t come in a pre-shrunk plastic wrap.  When we opened it up we reeled from the pungent stench.  What in the world was this?  I was terrified of the cheese, but my mother dived in and proclaimed it to be the “feet of the Gods.”  And so her love of Oka began, and my interest in cheese piqued.

Oka cheese is named after the village of Oka in Quebec, also known for the “Oka crisis,” which luckily, had nothing to do with cheese.  The cheese was originally made in this village in 1893 and was a Canadian version of “Port Salut” cheese, a French washed rind cheese. Monks originally from Port Salut established a monastery in La Trappe, (Trappist monks)near the village of Oka and started making their own cheese, and thus- Oka was created.  Oka and Port Salut are yet more examples of so-called “monastic cheeses,” meaning  washed rind cheeses made traditionally by monks. What’s up with monks and washed rind cheeses?  I keep running into this connection-if anyone knows, please let me in on the secret!

Alas, the Trappist monks sold the rights to Oka in 1996 to a commercial company-Agropur.  The Trappist monks got out of the cheese business, but I do hope they made a tidy profit.  It’s a little sad for me, as I was under the impression that this was still a monk-made cheese, and I don’t know why I should care, but I do.  It’s somehow not as romantic this way-not that there is anything overly romantic about monks making cheese, I concur.

Thus, the rights to Oka is now owned by the Agropur company, which is a fascinating company in it own right.  This Canadian owned dairy co-operative was founded in 1938 and has  5,000 employees and 27 plants and offices in Canada, the US and Argentina.  Agropur doesn’t just own Oka, it also produces Yoplait and Island farms, amongst others.  There are 3,500 dairy farmers in the Agropur family making it the  largest dairy cooperative in the country.

Oka is now industrially produced.  It can be either raw or pasteurized, and my little label doesn’t state which, so I’m not sure.  If it matters, ask your cheese monger.  It’s still a washed rind cheese, and made in the same manner as before, except no monks are involved. Sigh. After the cheese is pressed it is washed with brine to encourage the ripening of the rind during affinage-the cheese is at least one month old when ripe, although the “classic” version is ripened 2 months.  Agropur offers 6 types of Oka cheese: creme, raclettte, light,  mushroom, classique, and l’artisan.  I don’t know which type of have as my label called it “Signature” so it’s a bit of a mystery.

My little wedge of somewhat mysterious Oka has been warming up beside me on my desk as I write.  It’s a pale yellow, speckled with holes (eyes) and it has an orange washed rind with a little white mould and it is ever so slightly sticky. The cheese is relatively firm and tensile, it’s not a wet cheese.  The smell is actually mild, which surprises me-my original memory of Oka was that it reeked, but this cheese is pretty chilled out for a washed rind.  Mind you, it was my first experience ever with washed rind, so maybe I’m jaded now-or maybe the monks put something in their rind back in the 1980s that’s missing here.  Who knows.

Here goes…

Mmmmmm.  Yes, I do still like this cheese.  It’s actually freaking fantastic. The flavour is complex and delicious-intense, but not overly raunchy. It does taste like the feet of the Gods-mom was right!  It’s kind of foul, and kind of fabulous.  It does have a  hint of mould, especially if you include eating the rind-which you must-and a faint hint of ammonia.  But it all really works.  The texture is also really great.  It’s much more tensile than the other washed rinds-meaning it has a chew to it-it’s not floppy or wet or slimy, this cheese could keep it together on a sandwich.  You know, I actually wasn’t prepared to like this Oka, not being made by monks anymore, but Agropur has done a great job here.  It’s the cheese I remember and definitely a keeper.  Damn, it’s all gone.  Got to get some more.

Day 55-Stinking Bishop

You didn’t actually think I would miss reviewing cheese today, just because it’s Christmas, did you?  Incidentally, Merry Christmas, and Happy Birthday Sophie-my daughter is 15 today.  Yes, poor planning, in terms of arrival, but a lovely child nonetheless. I’m in Powell River at my mom’s this morning, so I am crossing fingers that all technology will come together and that this post will work!

Today’s cheese is the only one in my larder whose name resembles anything to do with Christmas, so with tongue firmly in cheek, I present to you, Stinking Bishop.  Stinking Bishop is a pasteurized washed rind cow cheese from England.  It’s made only by the Martell family at their farm-Laurel farm, and is made only from the milk of their Gloucester cows- a rare breed of cattle that this family basically brought back from the verge of extinction, specifically to make this cheese.  In fact, the making of Stinking Bishop was initially a publicity ploy for Gloucester cattle, and wasn’t really about the cheese itself.

Stinking Bishop is a smelly little celebrity.  The 2005 Oscar-winning “Curse of the Were-Rabbit-Wallace and Gromit” -an animated film-used this cheese as a sort of smelling salt at the end to revive one of the characters back from death.  Apparently, the demand for Stinking Bishop went up by 500% after this film was released, which just goes to show that people are weird.  Stinking Bishop was also reviewed on “Bizarre Foods” a show in which the host travels the world sampling nasties and proclaiming them, “delicious!”  Really, this little cheese made it onto Bizarre Foods?  Must have been a slow week.

Stinking Bishop is said to resemble a munster cheese, and has also been compared to Epoisses, the king of Cheese, thus I’m pretty excited to taste it-loving my experiences with both of these deliciously nasty little numbers.   Although it’s only been around since the 1970’s, a cheese very much like it was  traditionally made by Cistercian monks in the area.  This raunchy little cheese actually does stink-how refreshing that it embraces its odour! The smell comes from the washing of the rind in “Perry” an alcoholic beverage made from the local Stinking Bishop Pear.  The little Perry cheese bath happens about once every 4 weeks during the affinage before salt is applied to the rind at the finish.

Alas, much to my chagrin, there was no actual Bishop that stank and ate cheese.  The pear and the cheese are actually named after a Mr. Bishop, who originally bred the pears for the Perry beverage, but had a notoriously stinking temperament.  He legendarily shot his kettle for not heating his water for tea fast enough.  No actual Bishops were involved.  Sigh.

My little wedge of Stinking Bishop sits here minding its own business on my desk.  The rind is orange, and the interior paste is quite creamy colored, with a speckle of holes (eyes.)  It’s a soft looking cheese, but it’s not oozing or falling apart.  It really does reek, it’s that full teenage-goat-boy-sock-underwear-barn thing, although–in a sort of wholesome way.  It doesn’t smell sinister or medicinal, it’s owning its stench. It beseeches me to sample it.

Here goes…

Umm, yuck.  That’s a shocker.  First, you know how they say that stinky cheese doesn’t taste as bad as it smells-in this case, that is patently incorrect.  In fact, Stinking Bishop tastes worse than it smells. Far worse. The taste is just acrid and spoiled, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  I say this as a person who enjoys  raunch, and a good hit of ammonia in my cheese, but this one is either rotten, or it’s supposed to be this way.  Either way, I’m not eating anymore-and that’s a first.  The texture was also off putting-strangely foamy and squelchy for a washed rind cheese.  It also has a strange taste of apsaragus, like the cows broke into a patch and were then milked. Heinous! Man, this is a nasty cheese, I can’t imagine a world in which someone would actually enjoy eating it. OK, I get it, this is a “Bizarre Food,” because anyone eating it for pleasure is patently bizarre.

Well here it is, day 55 and my first cheese I seriously dislike and would never, ever, ever eat again.  Never. Well, maybe if I needed to revive someone from the dead.  Suddenly, that’s all sort of making sense.

Merry Christmas from “My Blog of Cheese!”

Day 48-Vacherin Mont D’Or

I have a new cheese friend. His name is Andrew Benton-he and his brother are the co-owners of “Benton Brothers” cheese which has three locations in Vancouver: Kerrisdale, Cambie street and Granville Island. I can’t tell you how bizarrely satisfying it is to “geek out” about cheese with another fromagological fiend. My next several cheeses come from Benton Brothers, and today I sample one labelled as “Andrew’s favourite,” which is a pretty tall claim as this man has-at any given time-several hundred cheeses as his disposal.

Vacherin Mont D’Or is a washed rind raw milk cow cheese from France. Or from Switzerland. This is confusing. It’s only made in the Massif du Mont D’Or near the French-Swiss border, and has AOC status -it seems that both Switzerland and France are duking it out to be able to claim this cheese. Both make it, but only Switzerland has the right to call it “Vacherin Mont D’or.” France creates an identical cheese called “Vacherin Haut-Doubs”, but unofficially is also called Vacherin Mont D’or. My little cheese is labelled Vacherin Mont D’Or, but is also claiming to be French! Actually, the Swiss version is pasteurized and the French version isn’t, so I think my little slice here must be French as it is also raw milk. Mystery solved. This here is a naughty little slice of Vacherin Haut Dobbs claiming to be Vacherin Mont D’OR, but who can blame it?

These cheeses are produced only in the winter and spring, and are a limited cheese item. After being taken out of the molds the cheese is wrapped in a strip of spruce before being aged on a spruce board. Each cheese is flipped and rubbed with brine. Vacherin Mont d’Or is purchased in its own little box in which the ripening continues. I’m pretty sure you don’t eat the spruce bark, you actually spoon this cheese out and smear it on things, it’s just wet and gooey.

Vacherin Mont D’or is made from the milk of cows brought down from their summer pastures. In the summer these same cows produce milk used to make Emmental and Gruyere. This was traditionally a smaller winter cheese made to deal with this milk. Another cheese legend (and I do love a cheese legend) states that the tradition of Vacherin came from the making of Chevrotin, a goat’s cheese. Cow’s milk was substituted for goat during a goat shortage, and this is the cow version that was created. Who knows? A goat shortage? Is such a thing even possible?

The Canadian government requires this cheese to be put into quarantine, and tested for Listeria. Because of this and its short shelf life, it’s a miracle this cheese has made it to me. What a survivor! If you see this cheese, go out and buy it, it may be your last chance!

This is actually quite a heinous looking cheese. The longer it sits on its little wrapper warming up from the chilly confines of the fridge, the more it starts to seep towards me…it’s actually crawling slowly, as though it has a life of its own. Actually, it does have a life of its own, teeming with delicious-yet Canadian government approved-bacteria. Mmmmm. The rind is white, and there is a thick black spruce band around the outside. This one’s going to be eaten with a spoon. Apparently, some people use it as a self-fondue, just dipping things in the middle, no need to heat it up! The smell is relatively faint for a washed rind cheese. I don’t smell spruce, but I do smell ammonia and teenager feet.

Here goes…

Oh, I just got little shivers up and down my arm-that’s a first. God, this is good! The taste is much more subtle than the smell, it’s pretty mellow and tastes like the forest, like rolling around under trees with mushrooms and a really, really good friend! It’s got a wild woods taste. It’s almost other worldly. It’s not offensive in the least, it’s subtle yet delicious, full of umami and mystery! The texture is insane, it’s actually wet and sticky and practically adheres to your teeth. I’m going to be licking my teeth for a couple of days.I’m not sure how you would actually serve this except with spoons. The self-fondue thing is making more sense to me now.

AOK, Andrew Benton, I get it, this is a fabulous little cheese! Go out and buy some now, before it’s all gone. Don’t share it! Hide in a corner with a spoon and your Vacherin Mont D’Or and thank me in the morning.

Day 38-St. Albray


We had a meeting at my office yesterday, and it was my job to bring snacks-a task which always fills me with dread. I fretted for some time before it occurred to me that I could bring cheese, yes, many kinds of cheese, a cheese tasting!  I selected 5 cheeses from my stash and arranged them artfully on a plate with little tags and a small pot of hot pepper jelly and some crackers, and it was a smashing success!  People love cheese.  They love to look at it.  They love to smell it.  They love to taste little tastes of it, and then come back for more little tastes.  They want to discuss it-compare and contrast the relative merits, and also tell about their own favourite cheese.  Cheese is an ice breaker.  It makes you cool, and popular.  Cheese s good.  This message was brought to you today by cheese!

Today’s lucky bloomy rind/washed rind hybrid  cheese is none other than St. Albray, my second sainted cheese in as many days.  It’s not enough just to be a saint-apparently- some French saints also get cheeses named after them-lucky! St. Albray is a pasteurized cow cheese from the middle Pyrenees (Juancon) France and according to the wrapper is a “good partner to nut breads,” which seems like a rather obscure pairing to me-really, just nut breads, or just better with nut bread?

St. Albray is a cool looking cheese-after allowing it to “ripen” for two weeks 6 little rounds of cheese are formed into a flower shape with each “petal” forming a half pound of cheese. The cheese “petals” surround  a disk which is removed creating a hollow center-very nice presentation, also looks a little like a honeycomb to me.  St. Albray is a mixed rind cheese-it was washed at the beginning of the ripening period, then left to continue ripening-and thus has that funky raunchy rind going for it.  Please, don’t toss the rind aside when eating this cheese, as it is an integral part of the experience.

St. Albray is a new cheese, created in 1976 , and I can find little information about its origin, but it is not AOC and due to its relative youth I suspect it is an industrial cheese, rather than an artisinal cheese.  Most of the hits on google regarding this cheese include the word “stinky” and “gross,” so I do find that exciting.  It’s actually quite funny, the cheese sites all use the words “mild” and “creamy” to describe this cheese, but that doesn’t seem to be the reaction of regular folk, who perhaps, have never run into a washed rind cheese and its army of bacteria before.  Most of the complaints about this cheese seem to involve the odour which is very strongly ammoniac and also the flavour, which is reminiscent  of shoes that a cat has peed on.  It looks like this cheese has a narrow window of ripeness, and it’s quite easy to miss it.

My little slice of St. Albray looks quite innocent.  The rind is orange and mottled with white bacterium, the paste is light yellow and oozes slightly. There are eyes in this cheese, and they look at me as I behold them. It’s not that stinky at all, I don’t know what people are bitching about-give them a whiff of Epoisses, that will shut them up!  Perhaps a bunch of cheese newbs and mozzarella eaters started sniffing htis cheese and writing about it, who knows, but it’s far from the raunchiest I have smelled and certainly doesn’t deserve the pages on the net describing its vile odour (how disappointing for me personally, I do love a vile odour!)

Here goes…

Well, it’s quite mild, like a camembert to me.  Yes, the rind does have that ammonia taste to it, as it should-but it’s really quite chilled out, it’s not as sticky and cloying as I had hoped, it’s actually a little insipid.  The paste is mellow and takes a little time before melting in your mouth, it’s not one of those buttery cheeses it’s a little foamy in texture to me-I prefer a cheese that yields more intimately and immediately.  The flavour is mildly barnyardy, and when you add the rind there is a note of bitter that I’m not nuts about.  All in all, quite forgettable.

St. Andre, you get a 3 out of 5 from me.  This includes a textural deduction for foaminess which I dislike in a cheese, and a deduction for insipid flavour, which no self-respecting washed rind cheese should ever claim.

Day 34-Gourmelin

Good morning everyone!  Another cold and dark winter’s morning, another bloomy rind soft cow’s cheese-I wonder if anyone has ever written that sentence before?  I think I am becoming obsessed with cheese-this may come as no surprise to those who know me.  My daughter told me she bought a ham and cheese sandwich at school-I demanded to know WHAT kind of cheese, then sniffed-derisively when she said “Swiss,” like such a thing really exists.  My husband asked me if he could use some cheese from my stash in dinner last night,”of course,” I responded, “but use that other Gruyère, not the GOOD Gruyère,” like he knew the difference.  I’m heading over the border to the USA this morning to do some Christmas shopping, and I’m also wondering about what type of cheese they have down there-and whether  I can bring it over the border hassle free or not.  This is what I have become.

Today’s cheese is Gourmelin, it’s a pasteurized cow cheese from  France.  Let’s talk about the whole raw milk/unpasteurized versus pasteurized issue for a moment.Health Canada advises pregnant women not to eat soft mould ripened cheese-that means bloomy rind and also blue cheeses if made from raw milk.  Raw milk cheese are supposedly potential carriers of bad  bacteria-specifically  “listeria,” which could harm a growing fetus. Thorough cooking should kill any listeria, but what’s the fun in that?  There certainly are a number of pasteurized bloomy rind cheeses to choose from for the gravid-but please do take note of this.

A Listeria infection in a healthy adult feels like a short-lived flu. Not so for the pregnant who may not develop symptoms until several weeks after exposure-Pregnant women, however, can be hit harder by listeria, in fact, they are more than twenty times more likely  to get listeria.  So that’s the “listeria hysteria” in a nutshell, if you’re knocked up, knock off the raw milk soft and blue cheeses, and just about everything else fun-but don’t fret, it will get you ready for the next 20 buzz kill years of your life anyway.

Now, back to Gourmelin, which is NOT raw milk, and is-thus-perfectly safe for the gravid and those who love them.  I have to admit, it’s been nearly impossible for me to figure out any history on this cheese-for the first time, I am literally stumped.  I went to page 20 in google with no information other that people talking about how it’s yummy and creamy and from France.  It’s actually kind of bizarre-like it’s some under-cover cheese agent, or in a cheese relocation program or something.  Here are the facts I have been able to find, please let me know if you can find any others.  First, Jean Gourmelin was a French surrealist-there is no mention if he is connected to the cheese, but as the lack of information of the cheese is surreal-I wonder!  Second, it isn’t purely a bloomy rind cheese, it’s also listed at times as a soft washed rind cheese, so perhaps it isn’t either, explaining why it doesn’t seem to exist.  Third, this cheese is made in Jurancon, a commune in the Pyrenees Atlantique region of france.  As it is made in a commune, perhaps it has changed its name as many do while joining cults (although I suspect it’s not THAT type of commune.)

My little slice of mystery cheese looks exactly like Chaumes which I reviewed a couple of weeks back-and in fact-perhaps it is. It’s a washed rind with an orangey exterior and a creamy yellow interior, it looks sticky and mooshy and there are faint bubbles in its mysterious inside.  The cheese is pungent with the ammonia-yes!  It’s the soft ripened cheese smell that I adore.

Alright, here goes…hmmm, this is a surprisingly mellow cheese, a little salty, but overall milky and mild with just the faintest whiff of ammonia. It tastes like a walk in the woods-fresh, brisk and faintly like something is rotting-but you don’t really want to know what it is.  The texture is
smooth and creamy-not overly runny like a triple cream, but quite soft and oozy on the palate.  This cheese is a safe bet-both for the pregnant and non-pregnant if you are looking for a mild-yet mysterious cheese.  I like it, but would choose Fleur d’Aunis or Chaumes over it if I had to pick a personal winner in this category.

Gourmelin, I give you a three out of 5, which isn’t really fair-you are actually a yummy little cheese-but I find that lack of information on you both vexing and perplexing-and thus deduct a point from you for that.

Day 14-Taleggio


As I complete my 14 day sojourn into washed rind cheese, I find myself reflecting on what I have learned thus far. Washed rind cheeses are not the benign brie-like discs I thought them to me.  Oh no, rather, beneath that orange-ish washed rind often lurks a true delicious wild monster. Just because you can spread it, doesn’t mean it’s soft-on the palate

Before I begin, another letter from my auntie Paulette, still moored in Indonesia.  She writes of the small picture of cheese at the bottom of each post:

“the cheese appears to be an iceberg floating in a very cold very bluish ocean….unmoored and headed it knows not where, a chunk of dairy flotsam. I feel empathy for the poor cheese and imagine it on a nice wooden cutting board so it could have a boat to sail on.  Perhaps a toothpick, with a miniature paper flag sticking out of it to act as a mini sail.   Might you consider the possible addition of an apple slice, how about a mini tomato or grape for a wee bit of color ?  I  JUST FEEL SO LONELY WHEN i see it unmoored in the artic like that.”

In a small gesture of fromagological good faith I have included a tomato in today’s picture.  However, this is out of love for you, dear auntie, and your existential angst.  The cheese itself is happy floating on its sea of blue-why?  Because it’s warming up, and getting ready to be eaten by me-thus fulfilling its life long mandate.

I digress.  Today’s cheese, Taleggio, is a pasteurized cow cheese from Italy. My first-of many-Italian cheeses, it rounds out my group of washed rind cheese.  This is potentially one of the oldest soft cheeses, and it is made only in the autumn and winter when the cows are tired (perplexing!). It is washed once a week with a seawater sponge in order to prevent mold and imparting a salty seawater crust on the rind of the cheese.  Another  cave cheese, Taleggio has been around for almost 1000 years and was originally matured in caves, although often is matured-these days-in factories.

My little slice of Taleggio is emitting odours here on my desk-mild, foot-like odours, as though it’s just gone for a 10 km run, but was clean before that. It is pale yellow inside with a slightly darker rind.  It’s not sticky looking and appears relatively benign.

Here goes…

The first thing I notice about Taleggio is the texture, it’s really great, soft, yet tensile. It would spread beautifully on some crusty bread, and I suspect would melt nicely too. It’s quite salty, the result of salt water sponge baths the nascent cheese had in those caves (lucky little cheese!).  It’s actually a little fruity, and quite earthy, not at all pungent…but, back to the salt, this is a really salty cheese, almost overwhelmingly salty.

I rate Taleggio a 3 out of 5, which includes the deduction of one point due to the saltiness which the poor little cheese couldn’t help.