Region: Northwest Italy
The real Fontina is from the steep mountain sides of Val d'Aosta in the Italian Alps. Its creamy brown rind comes thin and oily yet underneath lies a beige paste that is smooth and firm. Fontina should have earthy, herbal flavors and a few small holes spread out evenly. It serves as the base of Fonduta -- Italy's fondue -- along with butter, eggs, and mushrooms.