Sunday, November 27, 2005


Always known as Teleme in Turkey
Mavi Boncuk |
A Western classic and a California exclusive, teleme is a creamy white cheese made from whole milk. Once ranked as the best-sell ing specialty cheese in California, it slipped from attention in the late '60s, when some early producers stopped making it.

The invention of teleme is credited to a Greek cheese maker in Pleasanton, California. Shortly thereafter, production was begun by others, including one California family of Italian heritage, the Pelusos. First made in San Francisco's North Beach district in the 1920's, teleme is a close cousin of Taleggio, a whole milk cheese traditionally from the Taleggio Valley in Lombardo, Italy. Some describe it as a creamy Monterey Jack. The Pelusos began commercial distribution in 1925 and, three generations later, still supply Westerners with this distinctive cheese. Authoritative classifications group teleme with feta. But it's much more like Italy's stracchino in taste and texture. Both cheeses have a mild but refreshingly smooth-tart flavor (without feta's saltiness). Teleme, however, is smoother and creamier throughout; when beated, it melts into a delicate sauce a property of which these recipes take advantage. The process of making teleme and feta starts the same way, but feta turns out firm and crumbly; teleme goes the opposite direction, in an operation that's more difficult to control. Not surprisingly, it was an unexpected development in a batch of feta that created teleme.

Teleme is made in 10- to 12-pound blocks. The cheese is ready to eat in about 10 days but can age up to two months. As it ages, it develops more complex flavor and creamier texture.

No comments: