Can there be fontina cheese substitutes as good as fontina?
Like me, most of us would kill for a bite of fontina cheese. Supposed you’re big on eating a roasted red pepper sandwich and grilled chicken, you’d understand how precious this cheese is as it is a key ingredient.
However, your reasons for substituting this cheese for another are well-founded.
This cheese is famously unavailable in so many areas outside northern Italy. Perhaps you’re likely to get it once in every blue moon in a local grocery, as there are too many people venturing for it.
So if you cannot find fontina when there is a need for it, there are great alternatives for fontina cheese such as gouda, gruyere, taleggio, Emmental, appenzeller, bel paese, provolone, and Edam cheese that you can try.
Some of which are widely available, taste similar and are used for EXACT same purposes.
Table of Contents
What Is Fontina Cheese?
Fontina cheese is a well-known semi-hard cheese with a gentle buttery, nutty flavor.
Valle d’Aosta, Italy, is the birthplace of this cheese.
Fontina has a firm, slightly springy texture, pale gold interior with numerous small holes, and a reddish-brown rind.
And since this creamy cheese melts gracefully well, it is excellent for soups, chowders, pasta, or sauces. You would also love them in toasty sandwiches, pizzas, and frittatas.
Aside from that, the smooth texture, together with the tangy flavor, makes a tasty topping for any gratin.
On the other hand, the fontina cheese substitute on our list is worth exploring if you haven’t already because these options will make you miss that fontina flavor less.
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Best Fontina Cheese Substitutes
Below are the various fontina cheese alternatives you should definitely check out:
1. Taleggio Cheese
While fontina has a slightly rougher texture and small eyes throughout the cheese, if you crave something similar in taste and meltability, try Taleggio.
Taleggio is 100% Italian semi-soft, washed-rind cheese made with cow’s milk.
It is relatively gentle in taste, soft and creamy. The melting property is impressive, even though it is not as fontina.
But the moist-to-oozy texture allows it to melt pleasantly in the mouth, making it ideal for crusty bread.
A second in, and you’re already feeling the buttery delicious fruity, tangy flavor of this cheese.
The pungent aroma makes it even more tempting for seasoning gnocchi or crepes.
It goes incredibly well when paired with pumpkin jam, onion jam, compote of figs, and walnut.
Want to go all Italian?
For my Italian buddies, try it with salads, a hot plate of polenta, bruschetta, risotto. Or soave and chianti riserva, and barolo.
2. Gruyere Cheese
Gruyère is Swiss cheese. Unlike fortina, it is hard but with a pale yellow color and a nourishingly creamy, slightly nutty taste.
Gruyère also has small holes but is tinier and fewer compared to fortina.
More importantly, only a few kinds of cheese are graced to turn gooey when cooked —and that’s why fortina is such a hot cake.
But guess what, gruyère is among the chosen ones. They are consummate melting cheeses, which makes them ideal for use in fondues.
You can as well apply them in baked dishes, gratings, casseroles, soups, and more.
Some may prefer to grate it over their pasta and salads.
The good news is gruyère is a good source of protein, calcium, and Phosphorus.
Unfortunately, it is extremely high in saturated fat.
And as a result, consuming an excess of it increases bad cholesterol, which is linked to the risk of heart disease.
3. Emmental Cheese
It is worth mentioning that Emmental cheese is also a fantastic fontina cheese substitute.
Moreover, it is a semi-hard cheese made with cow’s milk, likewise fontina, and garnished with distinctive holes all over.
The packaging is always the same — a hard, thin rind covered by paper tagging along with the producer’s name on it.
Fontina and Emmental taste almost alike — somewhat buttery and a nutty flavor with a slightly fruity, acidic tone.
As it ages, the taste veers from mild to strong.
Plus, Emmental is an excellent melting cheese for fondue, sliced in sandwiches, burgers, as well as any baked dishes.
It is often grated over soups, French onion soup, vegetables, or salads.
Emmental is not just tasty for your recipes but also nutritiously healthy.
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4. Appenzeller Cheese
Like Gruyère and emmental,
Appenzeller is a fontina cheese replacement that hails from Switzerland.
It is probably Switzerland’s tastiest hard cheese, but the raw, robust unpasteurized cow milk that goes into Appenzeller makes this it mouth-watering.
Appenzeller tastes more like fontina, and it turns spicier as time goes by.
This cheese appears to be pale to straw yellow, dotted holes in its medium-sized chunks.
Since it melts pretty well, it is famous being for three-cheese fondue, paste snacks, sandwiches, or macaroni.
5. Bel Paese Cheese
You can’t talk about Italian cheeses without mentioning Bel paese. It is one of the most populous Italian cheeses but is now produced in the U.S as well as Brazil.
Bel paese is readily available semi-soft cheers with a creamy, buttery taste. And soft enough to melt seemingly in sauces, pizzas, and any baked dishes, yet firm enough to slice.
Furthermore, you can grab them at cheese shops or any well-stocked grocery store.
6. Provolone Cheese
Another cheese you might want to try is provolone cheese.
This cow’s-milk cheese from southern Italy has a mild flavor like fontina —though milder than young fontina with a noticeable tang taste afterward.
And since it is an adequate melting cheese, you can try them in your favorite casserole, sandwiches, and grated onto pizza, salads, or pasta.
Want to experiment with some Italian dishes?
Go ahead! You would love it as a topping for baked ziti.
When consumed moderately, you are opened to many health benefits from good eyesight, healthy bones, nourishing skin, and more.
Sadly, they also contain a huge dose of sodium and an unhealthy amount of saturated fat. And as you know, it could lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
We have also talked about provolone substitutes, so endeavor to go check them out.
7. Edam Cheese
And lastly, the Edam — a Netherlands semi-hard cheese made with skimmed milk and sold in a flat-ended sphere along with a red paraffin wax rind.
The interior is pale yellow but has no holes, at least like that of fontina.
Flavor and aroma-wise, Edam cheese has a mild salty and nutty flavor with almost no smell compared to other cheeses.
Also, as it ages, the flavor sharpens, and the texture becomes firmer.
You can enjoy this cheese as breakfast in paste and crepes, soups, sauces, and more.
In conclusion, you can always go with any of these fontina cheese substitutes. They are versatile cheeses that behave like fontina.
But we both know the real deal: experimenting. To make the right pick out of 7 alternatives, be sure to try a few.
Part of cooking is science, intuition, and luck.
Frankly, no cheese will replace fontina 100% in all aspects. However, some might try a particular recipe.
So don’t be afraid to try something new. Who knows, you may be surprised by the results!
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