Fontina Cheese from Aosta Valley

Fontina Cheese
  • Ok so Aosta Valley? Tell me about it…

All right, Grandma will say that the best, most refined and delicious cheeses are from Tuscany… Ok but Fontina Cheese is really something you want to try especially if you are a cheese lover and more specifically an Italian Cheese Lover!

The history of Fontina Cheese is long and ancient. Actually in 1200 the shepherds of the Aosta Valley already consumed this cheese of the mountains.

The fresh and fragrant pastures of the mountains in the Aosta Valley, where native breed of cows graze, is what makes this cheese so special. The milk from these cows is what makes Fontina Cheese such a gourmet cheese of this region.

Fontina Cheese Origin

  • How do I know I’m buying authentic Italian Fontina Cheese?

So if you want to buy Fontina Cheese here are the features you should look for:

it is supposed to have a very thin brownish crust, the texture should be soft and not really creamy but chewy. Fontina Cheese made during the winter usually has a lighter, pale yellow color while the one made in the summer time it’s much darker.

The taste of this traditional Italian Cheese is sweet and it gets stronger if the cheese is more mature (as it happens with most cheeses except fresh soft cheeses like Mozzarella for example which are never supposed to mature but to be eaten fresh).

  • Fontina Cheese Recipes and a favorite one for you

Fontina Cheese is used in the kitchen to make Fontina Cheese Dip.

That’s because one of the main feature of this Italian Cheese is its capability of melting and assuming a very creamy texture when exposed to heat. This creamy mixture it’s called “fonduta” which means “fondue”.

The most common use of “fonduta” in the Aosta Valley – but mostly everywhere in Italy – it’s to dip croutons in it. Or you could also dip vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.

You can use “fondue” to make different Fontina Cheese recipes like cornmeal, or to use it as a sauce for gnocchi.

Here is my Cornmeal and Fontina Cheese Recipe just for you:

  • You’ll need

2 Ibs of cornmeal;

0,90 Ibs of Fontina Cheese;

0,40 Ibs of butter;

salt and water.

Here is all you need to do:

bring the water to a boil and add salt as though you were making pasta.
Then pour the cornmeal in but not all at once, little by little to avoid the formation of lumps.

When the cornmeal is almost cooked add the butter and the cheese and keep stirring until all ingredients are well blended.

You should obtain a creamy mixture that looks like this:

Fontina Cheese Recipes

If the mixture is not creamy enough you can add a little milk.

Serve warm and if you want you can add some freshly ground black pepper on top.

            Bonus hint just for you…

Here is what I do in case a I have leftovers, I simply pour the cornmeal on a baking sheet and bake it until golden brown then I cut it in little squares and serve it as an appetizer. Grandma loves those!

Fontina Cheese Recipes

  • Are there any Fontina Cheese substitue?

The answer to this question from a local shepherd from Aosta Valley would be:

<<No! There are no substitute for such a delicacy>>. The answer from my Grandma who loves Tuscany and think it’s the best region of the country, would be something like…<<Sure. I can probably use a slice of Pecorino Cheese from Pienza and obtain an even better result!>>.

I only know one thing and here is the short story:

One day, I was in Orchard Park NY, and my host mom
(the wonderful woman who hosted me for over a year at her marvelous house in Orchard Park)
and I wanted to make a shortcrust pastry with Fontina Cheese and herbs but we couldn’t find the right kind of Fontina Cheese so we ended up using Havarti Cheese to make the recipe and it was simply delicious.

  • Bottom line

If you ever visit Italy and you like the mountains you should stop at Aosta and eat some authentic Fontina Cheese otherwise just try the Fontina Cheese recipe I provided here it is simply mouthwatering!

Let me know how it went…