Originating in Italy, Fontina is a semi-soft, raw milk cheese. Authentic Fontina cheese is made from cow milk that comes from the valley of Val d’Aosta, Italy.
Aged and pungent, Fontina cheese is generally covered with reddish-brown rind. It has a few holes and spreads smoothly when melted!
While Fontina cheese is rich and creamy, it is not everyone’s cup of tea. One of the main reasons why many people look for a Fontina cheese substitute is its aroma, which tends to intensify as the cheese ages.
There’s no denying that Fontina cheese is unique and flavorful. Unfortunately, it can be very hard to find this cheese in some areas. Hence, it is important to learn about Fontina cheese substitutes so that you can make Fontina-based recipes whenever you want!
Fontina Cheese Flavor
Fontina cheese is known for its creamy texture and sweet, nutty taste. It also boasts a signature tart taste that works extremely well with some recipes. Fontina cheese has a unique aroma that can be described as pungent.
The overall flavor of Fontina cheese is fairly earthy and pungent. Younger Fontina cheese is more suitable for fondue recipes as it is soft and creamy.
On the other hand, the rich flavor of aged Fontina cheese makes it an excellent option for sandwiches and pairing with roasted meat recipes.
Is Fontina Cheese Similar To Parmesan?
Parmesan cheese is easily one of the best substitutes for Fontina cheese. Just like Fontina cheese, parmesan also originated in Italy and has a dense nutty flavor. Moreover, it also has a PDO status, which means that only cheese produced in certain areas can be labeled as parmesan.
From taste and density to texture – parmesan and Fontina cheese have a lot in common. It is best to use parmesan in the same quantity as Fontina. Parmesan cheese makes the best Fontina cheese substitute when used with vegetable dishes, spaghetti, salads, and pasta.
Fontina Cheese Substitutes
While parmesan cheese is an excellent Fontina cheese substitute, there are many other options that you can try. Scroll down to take a look at some of the best Fontina cheese substitutes.
Gruyere is one of the closest substitutes for Fontina cheese. Just like Fontina, it is made from unpasteurized cow milk. It is yellow in color and has a nutty flavor. The texture is also dense and smooth once melted. Gruyere is an excellent Fontina cheese substitute for preparing pasta. You can also use it in soups.
Does your recipe require you to melt, grate, or slice the cheese? If yes, then opt for Gouda. Made from cow’s milk, this cheese goes exceptionally well with Fontina-based salads, fondues, and vegetable dishes. Use it just like Fontina cheese to get the same cheesy flavor!
3. Bel Paese
Another Italian cheese that melts in the mouth! However, keep in mind that just like Fontina cheese, Bel paese also has a strong lingering smell. So, if you are looking for a Fontina cheese substitute to avoid the pungent aroma, Bel paese may not be the option for you.
Generally, it is used as a Fontina replacement option in foods with a thick texture, like pizza or desserts. You can also use it to prepare a yummy fondue.
Havarti cheese is known as the dessert cheese. It is rich and super creamy, just like Fontina. It is best to use havarti cheese when you are making Fontina-based sandwiches or pasta. It’ll match the creaminess of Fontina cheese and give you exquisite flavors.
Taleggio matches the fat content of Fontina cheese. It is another Italy-based cheese that tastes and smells the same as Fontina. Taleggio is a great Fontina cheese substitute for making not only pizza and sandwiches but also bread.
It is also used in the preparation of ham, bacon, chicken, or any other meat-based dish.
Mozzarella can be your go-to Fontina cheese substitute. From soups and salads to pizza, lasagna, sandwiches, and meat-based dishes – you can use it in any recipe! Generally, it is used in shredded or grated forms. However, authentic mozzarella can be costly.
The Bottom Line
While each variety of cheese is unique and brings something new to the table, there are so many varieties that it is not hard to find substitutes and variations. Fontina cheese is no exception.
Over time, various variations of Fontina cheese have been produced, including Sweden Fontina and Denmark Fontina. However, these varieties differ from the authentic Italian Fontina in taste and texture.
So, if you are out of Fontina cheese, try one of the above-mentioned options. Keep in mind that the best Fontina cheese substitute depends on the dish you are preparing!