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Human Input

Valle d'Aosta is very important, both in socio-economic and cultural terms, the centuries-old tradition of producing fontina; local custom of using this cheese as a meal in the kitchen is still quite entrenched in the rural areas and not only in tourism.
People were then able to exploit Valle d'Aosta in the course of history despite the limited resources presented due to an often hostile environment by learning to raise a breed of cattle with very peculiar characteristics. From these animals, in addition to meat, humans also get the milk from which they obtain, through a proven and simple technique, a cheese with unique characteristics; this uniqueness is protected through the trademark (see article 13 of the rules of production), thus averting the risk of confusing the fontina PDO cheese with many others which, while trying to imitate it, cannot simply aPDOt similar times and temperatures for the processing and curing phases.


While outlining the chain of production of fontina PDO it must be said that thousands of people participate in its production in various ways across the Aosta Valley, from the production of fodder to cattle breeding to processing of milk to the ripening and marketing of cheeses; numerous other fields can be added, such as:


• brand protection and supervision
• promotion
• technical assistance
• research and training
• associations


The activity is divided between the permanent grasslands in the valley and high pastures in mountain pastures; the former are grazed in spring and in autumn, after the Descent from Alpine region the pastures are used and normally mown twice during the summer to establish adequate hay for use during the long winter season.
During the extensive pasture grazing, it is still a widely held tradition that the shepherd watches the herd, often being flanked by an aide and/or by a dog. The animals can then graze, during a normal year, even up to six months with great benefit to their health.



There are two types of companies that distinguish animal husbandry in the Aosta Valley: the stables in the valley that are more than a thousand years old along with a cattle population of just under 40,000 heads, of which about half are used in lactation. Today, the latter are still scattered throughout the region in the range of altitudes between about 1500 m altitude above sea level and the upper limit of herbaceous vegetation. Each pasture consists of several stations so you can make pork rinds all year round with the share of grasslands growing with the progress of the summer and vice versa as autumn approaches.


The process of making cheese from milk during the period of highest production volume (December to May) takes place in twenty cooperative dairies and in a few private dairies which are flanked by dozens of farmers who run their own dairy farms.
During the summer season, the production of fontina is done directly in the pastures; they only give some of their milk to the dairies in the valley and this is why they remain open during the summer months.
The technique of cheesemaking completely respects the original characteristics of the milk; it starts from raw milk straight from the cow, that is, from a fresh raw material that does not undergo either refrigeration or heat treatments, in total respect of authenticity. The milk is not subjected to any intervention before leaving the dairy or, after arriving at the destination. It is subjected to practices such as the standardisation of the fat content, the correction of acid content or the addition of additives other than the natural calf rennet and specific milk enzymes in Valle d'Aosta.
The specification for the fontina PDO prescribes a technology based solely on physical actions following coagulation: curd breaking, pinning and semi-cooking (48 °C) the curd, manual extraction, shaping, pressing and turning.
In such conditions it is a necessary prerequisite that you have the perfect raw material from all points of view, and this essentially depends on how the farmers operate, fairness in the collection of milk and the professionalism of the cheese-makers.


Cheese ripening is carried out in caves dug into the mountains where you have maximum relative humidity and a constant temperature of around 10 ° C throughout the year; the platforms on which they are arranged cheeses are always made of spruce.
Only in this environment and by manual work, which consists of the salting of the surface of the cheeses with alternate brushing and turning, does the milk form the crust (sludge) naturally; this acts as a semi-permeable membrane for adjusting:
• the penetration of the salt in paste to enhance the
• completion of purging
• the maintenance of a balanced moisture content in the cheese
• the proper conduct of the biochemical processes of transformation of the components of cheese which determines its texture and flavour
• the development of a specific microflora on the surface area which prevents the onset of defects such as rot, moulding and cracking.

During the ageing, you do not use dyes nor is "covering" of cheese (surface coating with synthetic material that can imitate the appearance of the sludge) practised.
The minimum eighty days of curing that fontina undergoes guarantees the consumer better health benefits as compared to eating cheese made from raw milk: the bibliography of specialised scientific facts has long shown that the so-called health risks in the semi-cooked fontina cheese made from raw milk with average seasoning are greater than those resulting from the consumption of similar cheeses made from pasteurized milk, indeed! The Cooperative also, like its producer members, implements strict hygiene levels of self-control in order to guarantee consumers a healthy and nutritious product with superior organoleptic characteristics.

COOPERATIVA PRODUTTORI LATTE E FONTINA soc. coop. r.l. | 10, Localita' Croix Noire - 11020 Saint-Christophe (AO) - Italia | P.I. 00040750077 | Tel. +39 0165 35714 | Fax. +39 0165 236467 | info@fontinacoop.it | Legal information | Privacy | Cookie Policy | Sitemap
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