Fontina means Aosta Valley
Fontina cheese has a Protected Designation of Origin status, a milky aroma, a sweet flavour and a creamy texture.
Where Fontina is made...
A natural “enclosure”...
Fontina is made in the Aosta Valley: a region surrounded by the highest and most renowned mountains in Europe: the Mont Blanc, the Monte Rosa Massif, the Matterhorn and the Gran Paradiso.
Up in the alpine pastures the cows - locally called “vatze” - graze rich and aromatic forage which lend their milk a great range of aromas, called “flavour”.
Wintertime inside the warm cattle shed.
In Aosta Valley cows have a name, two horns and a cowbell.
Valdostana Pezzata Rossa.
Probably descending from the dapple cows of northern Europe, this breed was introduced by the Burgundians towards the end of the V Century.
With its mighty and muscled appearance, broad forehead and strong horns, this breed naturally fights to establish a dominance hierarchy within the herd.
Valdostana Pezzata Nera.
This breed has the same characteristics of the Castana breed. The milk production of these two breeds is smaller than that of the Pezzata Rossa. A great agility in moving to the most arduous pastures is what distinguishes the Pezzata Nera and Castana breeds.
It is the Pezzata Nera and the Castana breeds that naturally start the fights inside their herds. The famous “Batailles des Reines”– which literally means “Battles of the Queens” – originated here. These cow fighting event is an annual single-elimination tournament where the last cow standing in the ring wins the title of “Reina delle Reines” – Queen of the Queens.
La Reina- The Queen and its family, awarded the cowbell and the traditional “bosquet” – a fir-tree branch decorated with ribbons and red flowers.
The milk of the Aosta Valley.
SIt is only here that the combination of flowers, herbs and water gives milk its special aroma.
The Fontina Seasons.
The grass of the alpine pastures in the summertime.
The hay of the valley floor in the wintertime.
The milking takes place twice a day, in the morning and in the evening.
photo by Sigfrido Corradi - www.sigfridocorradi.net
Surrounded by the highest peaks in Europe.
An everyday story.
Mucche al pascolo · Italo Mus (1892-1967)
The story of a tiny alpine world.
Amedeo Chapellu (1908-1999)
Throughout the centuries, the population of the Aosta Valley has been able to exploit the limited resources that their - sometimes hostile - environment has been giving them.
In Aosta Valley the use of Fontina to prepare everyday meals and traditional dishes is a century-long custom.
Carved during the long days out to pasture, this toy well represent the culture underlying the local popular art.
A mountain life.
During the centuries, the local people have selected a cattle breed of special features. This type of breed has great agility - even on arduous slopes, is strong and particularly fit for the hard climate of the Alps.
All eyes on the eyes!
To understand the quality of Fontina you must pay attention to its “eyes”! They must be round - no matter if they are big or small. They are the eyes of its “tenderness”.
1 · Stirring of the curd.
2 · Moulding.
3 · Pressing.
4 · CTF Number branding
(identifying the cheesemaker).
5 · Casein Plate affixing.
6 · Salting during maturation stage.
7 · Testing with sampling dowel.
8 · The PDO marking.
After 80 days
Fontina is ready
to be served!
To safeguard the consumer.
The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) refers to European Law (Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2081/92 – Council Regulation (EEC) No. 510/2006). A PDO product must follow the rules of the production standards, a document published on the Official Journal of the European Union L 30/19 of 04/02/2011.
The unique characteristics
of Fontina PDO in 7 points.
A third body is in charge of the branding, while the Consortium safeguards the PDO trademark.
Cheesemaker and date of production are always identifiable.
Milk comes exclusively from cattle breeds of the Aosta Valley.
Only grass of mountain pastures and hay of valley floor.
Just a few hours after the milking, twice a day.
Lactic acid bacteria
Use of autochthonous lactic acid bacteria.
Ageing takes place in some natural caves of the Aosta Valley.
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