Fontina is a cow's milk Italian cheese. Fontina cheese has been made in the Aosta Valley, in the Alps since the 12th century. It has a milk fat content of around 45%. As with many original varieties, the name "Fontina" has been imposed upon by such derivatives as "Fontinella", "Fontal", and "Fontella". Italian Fontina can be identified by a Consorzio (Consortium) stamp of the Matterhorn including the script "FONTINA". Although the version from Aosta is the original and the most famous, Fontina production occurs in other parts of Italy, as well as Denmark, Sweden and France. The original Fontina cheese from Italy is fairly pungent and has quite an intense flavor, although cheeses labeled Fontina that are produced in other countries tend to be much milder.
Fontina Val d'Aosta must be made from unpasteurised milk from a single milking, with two batches being made per day.
Young Fontina has a softer texture (and can be suitable for fondue). Fonduta is a traditional dish of Fontina whipped with eggs and cream. Mature Fontina is a hard cheese. Fontina has a mild, somewhat nutty flavor, while rich, herbaceous and fruity. It melts well. It can be substituted with: Gruyère, Emmental, Beaufort, Taleggio, Edam, or Gouda.
The Milk and Fontina Producers Co-Operative was formed in 1957. The co-operative collects from around 400 producers to market 400,000 cheeses, or 3,500 tons, per year.
Fontina has PDO status under European law.