The Fontina: brief identikit
Fontina is a DOP cheese, this means it has a Designation of Protected Origin all over the European Union:
- typical flattened cylindrical shape- with level sides
- weight 8 to 12 kilos
- diameter 43 cm
- convex sides 7-10 cms
- firm rind, dark or pale brown depending on ripening conditions and length of maturing;
- tender, half-cooked, soft cheese, with widespread, characteristic holes and straw-yellow in colour;
- characteristic sweet and pleasant taste which develops with maturation.
Where it comes from
The production territory of Fontina is Aosta Valley, the Autonomous Region in the Western Alps, opening on to Piedmont, Valais, Savoy and Upper Savoy. Encircled by Europe's most famous peaks: Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn and Gran Paradiso.
It's not only mountain, but most of the Region's axis runs parallel to the range of the Alps: an intra-alpine Valley par excellence. Dry summers and severe winters mark the lives of the flora, fauna and ... the inhabitants.
So you can find some Mediterranean-type vegetable essences in the meadows, whilst in July the high pastures are a precious collection of Alpine flowers. Because only in this land does the combination of flowers, herbs, water give that special fragrance to the cows' milk; and it is only the air of Aosta Valley which ripens Fontina cheese.