Pronunciation: [fahn-TEE-nah VAHL-lay D'AOW-stah]

Also called Fontina Val d'Aosta after the Italian valley from which it comes, this is one of Italy's great cheeses. While "fontina" cheeses are produced in Denmark, France, Sweden and the United States, the only genuine Fontina comes from this region. This cow's-milk cheese has a supple, smooth texture that can range from semisoft to semihard. The thin rind varies in color from yellow-gold to reddish brown and the interior from pale to dark yellow with a scattering of small eyes. Fontina's mild, buttery, slightly nutty flavor, and the fact that it melts easily and smoothly, make it perfect for almost any use. The majority of non-Italian fontinas, especially when young, tend to be blander and softer than the Italian original.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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