The scientific research
The research on Fontina has followed the development of analytical techniques, from chemical and going on to microbiological analysis.
In 1957 Giulio Angelo Neri in his book "Il casaro valdostano" gave a first organic account of the research carried out up to then. The thorough data and information revealed the interest which the scientific world of Universities and researchers had for typical cheese production.
To fix a date for the earliest research you can go back to 1887 with "Le Fontine di Val d'Aosta", in the annual report of the Experimental Station of the Lodi dairy. In the 1930s and 1940s, well before the Presidential Decree of 1955 which recognised the Designation of Controlled Origin, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry through its institutes (the Experimental Mountain Station of Salice d'Ulzio and the zootechnic-dairy Institute of Turin) studied Fontina. In the second half of the 1960s there was a revolution in Italian agriculture and in the zootechnic-dairy sector in particular. Local breeds were eliminated and the dairy industry came to the fore with new working and marketing techniques. Typical products were however not only saved, but also became stronger thanks to trademarks and recognition of typical products.
In its first year of activity the Consortium branded 75,000 cheeses and 150,000 ten years later, which figure was doubled yet again at the end of the 1980s. But there was the impression that the experience and tradition were coming to an end.
PASTURES AND QUALITY OF FONTINA:
The milk produced in the summer is full of unsaturated fatty acids:
- good % presence of unsaturated fatty acids (OMEGA 3, OMEGA 6) in the Fontina of the high pastures and significant simultaneous decrease of the saturated long-chain component (C 16) responsible for the cholesterol-genic effect.
In particular there is a significant increase of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (C 18:2 omega 6) in the mountain milk
- terpenes and sesquiterpenes: molecules present in pastures rich in dicotyledons (flowering essences) which, passing in the milk, confer on the Fontina those volatile compounds responsible for the dairy product's flavour.
IN DEPTH STUDIES:
- Quality of milk during summer period and typology of curd (Barmaz)
- Nutritional aspects of Fontina cheese (R. Ambrosoli, E. Pisu) 1996