What does Fontina cheese taste like? This cheese has been popular among many cultures for several centuries. With this FAQ we’ll tell you why and what you need to know about Fontina cheese.
Considered one of the best cheeses on the planet, Fontina cheese is known for its creamy and luscious flavor.
Fontina cheese is fatty and greasy, making it a perfect choice for many recipes since it can melt very well and has a smoother texture than most cheese.
This semi-soft cheese comes from Italy but has many versions within France, Sweden, Denmark, and the U.S.
If you haven’t encountered the opportunity of finding them at your local deli, we’re here echoing the sentiment of those wondering, “what does Fontina cheese taste like?”
What is Fontina cheese?
Fontina cheese is Italian milk produce that comes from the Aosta Valley, in the northern part of Italy, right at the feet of the Alps.
Within the lush meadows of the region, red-pied Valdostana cows provide the milk that is needed to produce the rich and creamy Fontina cheese.
Traditionally, Fontina cheese is made from unpasteurized milk, making its texture to be semi-soft and smooth, with a pale yellow color.
The Aosta valley, where the cows graze, has caves and crevices in the mountains that provide the best low temperatures for aging Fontina cheese.
The cheese naturally absorbs the filtered moisture from the caverns, which adds to the unique aroma and particular savory flavor of Fontina.
This is also the reason why the Fontina has a dense and open interior.
Fontina cheese also goes by different names, such as fontal, fontella, and fontinella.
This traditional cheese has been produced by expert artisans in the mountains of Valle d’Aosta since the 13th Century.
Since then, Fontina cheese is still made using large copper cauldrons, which heat the milk immediately after it is collected from the pasture.
Cheese curds are then made firm, separated, and drained through a cheesecloth, which is then placed in wheel-shaped molds.
These cheese wheels are then brined for 2-3 months before being placed in the caverns to be aged.
It takes between 3 months to an entire year to make, after collecting unpasteurized milk from the cow, processing and refining it.
There are no artificial preservatives to produce Fontina cheese, and it is also considered gluten-free.
Fontina cheese can be recognized with its distinct orange-brown crust and is a preferred table cheese due to its smooth and mild texture.
What does Fontina cheese taste like?
Fontina cheese is known for its nutty, milky, and mild flavor while providing rich, fruity accents filled with an herbaceous aroma.
It is vibrant and creamy, with sweet and aromatic flavors.
It has tones of butter and roasted nuts that can linger on your palate.
Original Aosta Fontina cheese has a distinct taste and texture because it uses unpasteurized milk, which is matured for three months in humid grottos and caverns of Valle d’Aosta in Italy.
Italian variations of Fontina cheese are known to be sharper in flavor compared to other options made elsewhere.
Fontina cheeses produced in the United States, Sweden, and Denmark have a softer texture with milder flavors and visibly have more holes than Italian cheese.
Fontina cheese is a harder type of cheese but with a smooth texture.
The cheese can quickly melt despite its hardness when using the right temperature.
Its buttery flavor and texture make it a great dip and is also a preferred flavor enhancer when used for different soups, chowders, and pasta.
Fontina cheese is also considered one of the best-melted cheeses, making it perfect for pizzas, burgers, and sauces.
Adding Fontina cheese to your dishes provides that nutty, creamy, and tart taste that can round up different recipes.
Ways to use Fontina cheese
Fontina cheese is a great dessert, or table cheese served as a highlight on your cheese plate with its creamy and luscious flavor.
Its unique taste and texture versatility also makes Fontina cheese ideal for cooking.
Fontina cheese can provide a desired mild, nutty flavor, making it a preferred added ingredient for different recipes.
It has the right moisture that allows Fontina cheese to melt smoothly and evenly.
As a table cheese, it can be served with crusty bread, crackers, black olives, fresh fruits, and raw vegetables.
It can pair fantastically with other cheeses like Gorgonzola, adding to its overall flavor.
Fontina cheese is also known for its smooth texture when melted, making it an exquisite addition to fondue dips.
When used as a gratin, Fontina cheese is an ideal choice for any dish topped with cheese as it melts evenly and smoothly.
It is an ideal topping for any gratin, which can even be blended with mozzarella as a flavor enhancer to use on pizza.
Adding Fontina cheese for gratin dishes can provide that extra nutty and tangy flavor, even when mixed with other kinds of cheese.
When access to Fontina cheese may become limited, many cooks go for substitutes like Gruyere, Gouda, and Provolone cheeses, due to their similar texture in melted conditions.
However, no substitute can provide the pungent smell and a more robust taste than an original Fontina.
Fontina cheese can also be used in pasta, chowders, soups, and many other recipes in which cheese can be a perfect flavor enhancer.
How to store Fontina cheese
When buying Fontina cheese intended for consumption, it’s likely to have leftovers that you can use later on.
Storing Fontina cheese properly is ideal for maintaining its quality and enjoying it for your subsequent use.
Learning how to store Fontina cheese is vital to maximizing the properties that make its flavor distinct.
Like most cheeses, Fontina cheese should be stored in the refrigerator, with proper practices to ensure the best upkeep.
To store Fontina cheese correctly, you’ll need to follow the following:
- Wrap it in cheese paper, wax paper, or any alternative options such as parchment paper or even a paper bag. This prevents the cheese from drying out.
- Loosen it up before enclosing it in plastic wrap for optimum freshness.
- Store it inside a box at room temperature or inside the refrigerator.
Take note: Cheese shouldn’t be wrapped directly in plastic because it is breathable and alive, and plastic wrap can suffocate it.
When refrigerating Fontina cheese, make sure not to put it into contact with other foods to avoid contamination and quick spoilage.
When stored correctly in the fridge, this process can keep your opened Fontina cheese suitable for up to 10 days.
You can also freeze Fontina cheese after wrapping it, extending its shelf life further.
You can then refrigerate the cheese overnight to defrost.
Fontina cheese, or any other kind of cheese, shouldn’t be stored too long in the refrigerator or freezer before being consumed since prolonged storage can change the cheese’s structure and can still get spoiled.
To fully enjoy Fontina cheese, it’s still highly recommended to use it when it’s fresh.
How to know if Fontina cheese has gone bad
When it comes to cheeses, the quality of their properties may begin to deteriorate once it becomes exposed to air.
Opened Fontina cheese generally can be adequately stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Like most cheeses, Fontina cheese can go bad if unconsumed for too long.
The most obvious sign that your Fontina cheese has gone bad is its smell.
Fontina cheese has a relatively strong, pungent smell, but it can smell like sour milk when it turns bad.
Spotting mold on hard Fontina cheese is also a sign, although you can opt to cut off the moldy part of the cheese and eat the rest.
This is because spores likely would not have spread throughout the rest of the cheese, making it still safe to consume.
Aside from its smell, Fontina cheese that has gone bad can be runny and have a sour taste.
When the quality of your Fontina cheese has deteriorated, and you notice these warning markers, it’s highly advisable to discard the cheese instead of using it to avoid unnecessary complications.
Substitutes for Fontina cheese
Depending on availability and access, it can be possible that Fontina cheese might be hard to find at your local supermarket or deli and might require alternative options.
Other semi-hard cheeses can emulate the luscious flavor of Fontina, especially for certain dishes.
The Swiss-cheese Gruyere has a rich and creamy texture making it a great option similar to Fontina.
It produces hints of hazelnut and butter, similar to the strong nutty flavors you get from Fontina cheese.
Should you opt for these alternatives, Taleggio, Provolone, Gouda, and Emmental cheeses are ideal Fontina substitutes.
Another option, although not the best Fontina alternative, is cheddar cheese.
We recommend picking out mature cheddar to achieve a more intense flavor that is more similar to Fontina than regular cheddar cheese.
The bottom line
When it comes to cheeses, the Fontina is one of the best at providing exquisite flavorful experiences when it comes to mouthfeels and aftertaste.
Choosing a rich cheese can be vital to achieving unforgettable culinary moments, and when it comes to the richness, Fontina cheese is undoubtedly up the ranks.
You might like to also know about feta cheese, cottage cheese, and gouda cheese, too!