What Is Fontina Cheese?

With all the miles and miles of cheeses to choose from in the dairy aisle, sometimes you need a little gentle prodding to go outside your comfort zone. Old standbys like provolone and brie are easy to fall back on, but it’s high time you took a gamble on something a little different, a little stinkier. Meet, fontina. What is fontina cheese, you ask? Allow me to explain. 

What is fontina cheese?

Fontina is a semi-hard, Italian-style cow’s milk cheese that has a rich and creamy texture and a nutty, buttery flavor. If that description doesn’t have you flocking to buy some now, then we don’t know what will. Fontina is typically made from unpasteurized milk, and has small holes in the body not unlike mini-versions of those found in swiss cheese. So, you know, don’t return it because there are holes in it: they’re supposed to be there!

Where is fontina cheese from?

Fontina cheese originated in Italy and is traditionally made from milk taken from cows in the Aosta Valley (an Alpine region in the northwest of Italy). But these days, fontina cheese is also made in Denmark, Sweden, the United States, Canada, and Argentina. 

What does fontina cheese taste like?

Fontina can best be described as both sweet and pungent. It has subtle tones of butter and roasted nuts. 

What cheese is similar to fontina?

Mild provolone, gruyère, and gouda cheeses may all be substituted for fontina. However, make no mistake, it won’t be the same. 

Is fontina a good melting cheese?

Folks, not only is fontina a good melting cheese, but you can go ahead and count it as one of the best. A grilled cheese sandwich made with fontina is next level. 

What is fontina cheese used for?

Because it melts ever so nicely, fontina is often used in hot dishes like gooey baked pastas, cheesy mashed potatoes, breakfast casseroles, and paninis. You can also just bake fontina with some olive oil and herbs, and serve it as a hot dip for bread.

So, the next time you’re in the market for a cheese that not only goes with anything, but tastes spectacular on its own, be sure to give fontina a try. It may not be as beloved as cheddar or mozzarella, but after you try it, it’ll never leave your grocery list. In short? Fontina…it’s FON-TASTIC!

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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