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Fontina Cheese: What Is It, Why Is It Good, And How Can You Use It?

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

Fontina cheese is a type of Italian cheese that is popular among foodies and cheese connoisseurs. Its nutty, earthy flavor comes with a hint of sweetness that makes it an excellent choice for melting in recipes, or simply enjoying on its own.

Fontina Cheese: What Is It, Why Is It Good, And How Can You Use It?

So the question is: What does fontina cheese taste like? Does fontina cheese taste good? In this article, we took a closer look at the flavors and uses of fontina cheese, as well as a quick look at how it is created.

What Is Fontina Cheese?

Semi-soft, straw-colored Italian cheese made from cow’s milk, and has a unique flavor that can be described as nutty and earthy with a hint of sweetness.

It also has a creamy texture, which makes it great for melting in recipes or just on its own, and its texture is creamy and smooth thanks to the inclusion of partially skimmed milk.

How Is Fontina Cheese Made?

The process for bringing fontina cheese into existence is simple, and we took a closer look at this below:

Step 1: Milk Collection

Fontina cheese is made from cow’s milk that comes from regions in Italy such as the Aosta Valley. The milk is collected from cows in the early morning when they are still resting and the milk is freshest. The cows must also be grazed on grass or hay to ensure that the milk has a high quality.

Step 2: Heating And Adding Culture

The milk is then heated gradually to a specific temperature, usually between 86 °F and 92 °F. Once it has reached the desired temperature, lactic acid bacteria cultures and rennet are added. The cultures acidify the milk while the rennet coagulates the milk proteins, forming curds.

Step 3: Cutting The Curds

After an hour or so, the curd has formed into a solid mass and is cut into small pieces using a curd cutter. This helps to release the whey and create a consistent texture throughout the cheese.

Step 4: Heating And Pressing The Curds

The curd is then gently heated and stirred for several hours until it reaches the right temperature. The heat helps to remove more whey and develop the cheese’s signature buttery flavor.

Then the curds are transferred to molds lined with cheesecloth to drain for several hours. The cheese is then pressed to release any remaining whey and shape it into a wheel.

Step 5: Aging

Finally, the wheel of Fontina cheese is placed in a cool, humid curing room for several weeks. During this time, the cheese is regularly turned and rubbed with a brine solution to develop its rind and enhance its flavor. The longer the cheese is aged, the more complex and mature its flavor becomes.

How To Enjoy Fontina Cheese?

Fontina Cheese: What Is It, Why Is It Good, And How Can You Use It?

Fontina cheese is a versatile cheese that can be enjoyed in many ways. Some of the best recipes to inspire you include:

Pair It With Fresh Fruits

One of the best ways to enjoy Fontina cheese is by pairing it with fresh fruits. The nutty flavor of the cheese pairs well with the sweetness of fresh fruits like apples, pears, and grapes. Simply slice up some fruit and add it to a cheese plate alongside your favorite Fontina cheese.

Make A Savory Tart

If you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, why not try making a savory tart using Fontina cheese? Start by making a simple pastry crust and then add a mixture of Fontina cheese, fresh herbs, and sautéed vegetables like onions and zucchini.

Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and bake until golden. Serve hot or cold for a delicious and filling meal.

Grill It In A Cheese Sandwich Or Panini

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a grilled cheese sandwich, and Fontina cheese makes for a delicious twist on this classic dish. Simply add sliced Fontina cheese between two slices of your favorite bread and grill until the cheese is melted, and the bread is crispy.

For an extra flavor boost, add some sliced prosciutto or roasted red peppers. Fontina cheese is also a great addition to panini sandwiches.

Use it as a base for your sandwich and add some roasted vegetables, turkey or ham, and some greens for a delicious and filling meal that is perfect for any time of the day.

Add It To Mac And Cheese

Mac and cheese is a classic comfort food, and adding Fontina cheese to the mix takes it to the next level. Simply make your favorite mac and cheese recipe, but replace some of the cheese with Fontina cheese for added nuttiness and richness.

Pair It With A Great Red Wine

Fontina cheese pairs well with red wine, especially Sangiovese and Barolo. The acidity in the wine complements the cheese’s rich taste and enhances its flavors. Serve it with some toasted bread or crackers to add a crunchy element to the pairing.

Make It A Pizza Topping

Fontina cheese is a great alternative to mozzarella as a pizza topping. Its gooey texture and nutty taste melt perfectly on the pizza, adding a flavor and texture that is sure to impress. Combine it with some fresh tomatoes, basil, and olive oil for a classic Italian pizza that is perfect for a casual night in.

Add It To Your Risotto

Fontina cheese adds a rich and creamy texture to risotto, making it an excellent addition to this popular Italian dish. Start by cooking your risotto as usual and add some grated Fontina cheese towards the end, stirring until it melts and incorporating it into the risotto.

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose to enjoy Fontina cheese in a classic grilled cheese sandwich or try it in a new recipe, the cheese’s nutty and earthy taste will add depth and complexity to your dish.

Consider these tips and experiment with different recipes to find your favorite way to enjoy Fontina cheese – you may just discover a new favorite!

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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