Fontina Aosta PDO
There are various versions of the etymology of the name: there are those who link it to the name of the pasture of Fontin, or to the name of a place called Fontinaz, or to the surname of a family of cheese makers. The term “fontine” appeared for the first time in 1717 in the register of expenses of the Hospice of the Great St. Bernard and the same name is found in a document of a few years later, written by the Commandant de Challant, a member of a noble dynasty of Valle d’Aosta. Fontina DOP is the Valle d’Aosta cheese par excellence and its production has been bound to the Standards of Production of the Protected Designation of Origin which it obtained in 1996 and according to which it can only be made in the Valle d’Aosta.
Fontina Aosta PDO
Fontina Aosta PDO – This small Italian region can boast of the highest pastures in Europe, characterized by fine botanical species on which the cows of autochthonous breeds feed: Valdostana, Pezzata Rossa and Pezzata Nera.
Fontina Aosta PDO is made by coagulating the raw milk within a few hours of the milking, twice a day, at a temperature of 36°C, using liquid calf rennet. The curd is broken down into grains and heated to 48°C to help drain out the whey. It is then placed in moulds, pressed for about 12 hours and left to age for a minimum period of 3 months, during which the cheese is periodically turned over and salted on the surface. Ageing is, as per tradition, in natural environments; usually grottos, tunnels, former military bunkers and even in an old military mine. At the end of the ageing process, the Consortium of Protection examines every cheese and authorizes branding with the PDO mark in ink only the cheeses that meet the standards of quality.
The cheese obtained has a fine dark yellow or reddish-brown rind, a soft, buttery and melting paste with a mild and particularly aromatic flavour. As well as a table cheese, Fontina is the main ingredient of some typical Valle d’Aosta recipes, such as Fondue, Polenta Valdostana and Valpelenentze.