Fontina becomes part of the official list of typical Italian products with the certification PDO (protected designation of origin) which was issued on 21 June 1996.
Being a product PDO certification requires that the entire production process must be carried out in the Valle d’Aosta region.
Fontina cheese is a PDO Protected Designation of Origin in the whole European Union. This cheese produced in Valle d’Aosta is characterized in particular by a cylindrical typically flattened – with flat faces, weighing 8 to 12 kg, a diameter of 43 cm, compact crust color from light to dark brown depending on the maturation and the duration of aging, semi-cooked supple, soft, characteristic holes and dispersed in the form of pale yellow color more or less intense, characteristic taste, sweet and pleasant, more or less intense with it matures.
The production area is that of the Fontina Valle d’Aosta. For many centuries the Fontina was produced to where it was possible to get enough milk, that is enough cows, and that is in pasture. During the winter, almost all the families valdostane had only one or two cows. Only in the course of 1800 formed the dairy manufacturing and the milk was put to work in common with co-operative spirit.
The real “architects” of Fontina are the mountain pastures of the Region and the local breeds: the mottled red, the black and brown spotted taking an irreplaceable role, thanks to their ability to enhance the grass of the pastures and hays natural meadows.
The veal valdostane have a production of milk variable during the year, for a total amount lower than that of other races, but of higher quality. the diet of the cows, consisting mostly of alpine essences, also determines the nutritional content of milk, which vary slightly between the summer and winter.
Processing, in accordance with specification for the PDO, does not alter the characteristics of the fresh milk which pass unaltered through cheese. In fact, the milk is processed within hours of milking, 2 times a day, at a temperature of 36 ° C, using calf rennet to coagulate. One proceeds then to the breaking of the curd which is chopped to the size of a grain of corn. Keeping moving the curd there shall be gradually heated up to about 48 ° C to facilitate purging of clots. A temperature reached the heating is interrupted and, still holding moving the cheese mass, it completes the bleeding. Once this phase is called for pinning the curd is left to rest for ten minutes, after which it goes to the shaping of the cheese mass. The curd is then placed in the molds typical characterized by the convexity of the side on which is applied to the plate of casein with the serial number of the product. The forms are so lying under press to complete the whey residue. The squeezing lasts about 12 hours during which the forms are turned several times. Then follows the first salting and subsequent transfer of the shapes in the warehouses of seasoning. The vesting period is the average of at least 3 months during which the shape is periodically and rubbed salt on the surface.
In the first month the forms are turned over every day, alternating one day for salting and one for brushing, operations that facilitate the development of the typical crust. Subsequently, these operations are carried out at more sparse, and forms, carefully looked after, seasoned slowly, lined up in perfect order, on spruce boards.
Most of the ripening caves of Fontina, are carved into the rock. Here the temperature is between 10 ° C and 12 ° C and the humidity is higher than 85%, the optimum conditions for a slow and gradual maturation.


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