You've had Fontina before right?

Well, probably not the real deal.

Although it is the only cheese allowed by European Union to be called Fontina. Aosta Fontina is rare in the U.S. Although you might be eating at an upscale Italian restaurant ordering something that says it contains "Fontina," 99% chance they have opted for a cheaper Danish version that can't even legally be called Fontina if sold inside the European Union.

By E.U. law, this cousin to the true Alpine-style cheeses can only be produced in Italy's north-westernmost region, the Aosta Valley where the cheese making traditions of Italy, France and Switzerland all begin to blur.

Eating it as a table cheese, the connoisseur will note distinctive Emmenthaler-like flavors, but with a slightly more assertive funk from the smear ripened washed rinds like French Raclettes. The less initiated will just enjoy an incredibly complex expression of flavors while not being overly challenged in the strength department.

While utterly delicious on its own, true Fontina is one of the world's greatest melting cheeses. I often use it to make panini (read fancy grilled cheese) to serve with tomato soup. I contend you cannot find a better cheese or blend of cheeses for such purposes.

At Caputo's, we allow each wheel to spend a month in our cave recovering from its Atlantic journey. Aosta Fontina is widely recognized as one of the world's most unique cheeses. Unfortunately, greatness begets knock offs and when knock offs represent 99% of the volume produced, we owe it to these artisans to support authenticity. This raw cow's milk cheese is the perfect cheese for this crazy cold weather too.