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Fontina PDO.jpg
Country of originItaly
RegionAosta Valley
Source of milkCows
Fat content45%
CertificationEU: PDO 1996
Related media on Wikimedia Commons

Fontina (French: Fontine[1]) is an Italian washed-rind cow's milk cheese. Fontina has PDO status under European law.


A 1480 fresco from the Issogne Castle: the forms of cheese on the right are thought to be the earliest depiction of Fontina.

Fontina cheese has been made in the Aosta Valley, in the Alps since the 12th century. It has a milk fat content around 45%. It can be identified by a Consortium stamp of the Matterhorn including the script "FONTINA".

As with many other varieties, the name "Fontina" has been imposed upon by such derivatives as "Fontinella", "Fontal", and "Fontella".[2] Although the version from Aosta Valley is the only original and the most famous,[3] a derivative production occurs in other parts of Italy, as well as Denmark, Sweden, Quebec, France, Argentina, and the United States.[4]

The original Fontina cheese from Aosta Valley is fairly pungent and has quite an intense flavor, although Fontina-like labeled cheeses that are produced in other countries can be much milder. The Swedish and Danish versions are often found in US grocery stores, and can be distinguished from Aostan Fontina by their red wax rind (also prevalent in Argentine Fontina). Aostan Fontina has a natural rind due to aging, which is usually tan to orange-brown.[5][6]

It is noted for its earthy, shroomy, and woody taste, and pairs exceptionally well with roast meats and truffles.[7] It has a rich and creamy flavor which gets nuttier with aging.[8]

The interior of the cheese is pale cream in color and riddled with holes known as "eyes". A good accompaniment is Nebbiolo, a red wine with flavors of wild cherry and truffles.[8]


Young Fontina has a softer texture (and can be suitable for fondue). Fonduta alla valdostana (in Italian) or Fondue à la valdôtaine[9] (in French) is a traditional dish of Fontina whipped with milk, eggs, and truffles. Mature Fontina is a hard cheese. Fontina has a mild, somewhat nutty flavor, while rich, herbaceous and fruity. It melts well.


Fontina produced in the Aosta Valley must be made from unpasteurized milk from a single milking, with two batches being made per day.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dicitonnaire Larousse
  2. ^ Ehlers, Steve; Hurt, Jeanette (1 April 2008). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cheeses of the World. DK Publishing. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-4406-3618-9.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Heimowitz, Colette (13 March 2012). The New Atkins for a New You Breakfast and Brunch Dishes. Simon and Schuster. p. 180. ISBN 978-1-4516-8972-3.
  5. ^ 'The history' Archived 2014-07-25 at the Wayback Machine, Cooperativa Produttori Latte e Fontina (2006).
  6. ^ Fontina on
  7. ^ "Artisanal Premium Cheese". Archived from the original on 2010-08-08. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
  8. ^ a b "Fontina Val d'Aosta". Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  9. ^ See 1 and 2.
  10. ^ Rubino, R.; Sardo, P.; Surrusca, A. (eds.). Italian Cheese: 293 Traditional Types. ISBN 88-8499-111-0

External links[edit]