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 DOP 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 DOP 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.