If you like to eat a roasted red pepper sandwich and grilled chicken then Fontina cheese can be one of its important ingredients. Fontina cheese is a semi-soft cheese made from the milk of Italian cows from the Valle d'Aosta. This irregularly shaped aged cheese, covered with a dark brown crust, is pungent.
This cheese is typically used in the U.S. since last some years due to its nutty flavour and buttery taste along with straw-yellow appearance. The texture of this creamy cheese is rich and semi-soft which has very a few small holes. A piece of true Fontina cheese can be recognised through its orange-brown crust. It is a good table cheese due to its smooth and mild texture after melting.
But due to easy availability and resembling flavours some of the Fontina cheese substitutes produced in other parts of Italy and other countries are used by some cooks for cooking cheesy dishes.
Reasons of popularity of Italian Fontina cheese
The root cause of using Fontina cheese in Italian Fondue is its smooth texture in melted condition that provides a surprising blend to the fondue dips. The younger varieties of this cheese, made from cow milk, with milder taste and semisoft texture become preferable for the dishes having melted cheese as their main ingredient.
A cheese tray gets an additional stinky aroma by adding aged Fontina cheese in it. But today various Fontina cheese substitutes are used instead of classic Italian cheese as table or cooking cheese, depending upon the preferences of the cook and the kind of recipes to be cooked.
Reasons to find Fontina cheese substitutes
The Fontina cheese produced at its birthplace the Valle d’Aosta, Italy is naturally a bit more pungent than its versions made in France, U.S. and other areas of Italy. Fontina produced in Denmark is semi-soft with slightly mild sweet flavour and pale yellow looks.
A piece of Fontina cheese is always welcomed to prepare a well-prepared cheese dish that has melted cheese like sauces, pizzas, frittatas and toasty sandwiches etc. regardless of the fact where it has been produced. People usually search for Fontina cheese for its typical features but if one finds it difficult to get it then they usually search for Fontina cheese substitutes.
Why Fontina cheese has many substitutes?
People normally search for Fontina cheese substitute because the taste of Fontina cheese very mild which can easily be replaced by the cooks, as per their liking, with various options. This fact is especially true because Danish Fontina cheese is most common form of Fontina cheese found in the markets of United States. Main reason of popularity of this type of Fontina cheese is its softer texture and milder taste than other Italian varieties of Fontina cheese with sharper taste available in the market.
Some of the Fontina cheese substitutes
Fontina cheese sold in US markets used to have creamy, buttery and nutty taste with smooth texture. But the Fontina cheese produced in other parts of Italy than the Valle d’Aosta has more pungent smell and stronger taste than original one.
For this reason a number of Fontina cheese substitutes like Gruyere, Gouda and Provolone cheeses are used by many cooks as a table cheese due to their pleasant taste in melted condition. All of these cheeses replicate the taste of Fontina finely. Emmental cheese is another good replacement of Fontina cheese. These substitutes also go well various recipes as well as white wine.
In Switzerland, Gruyere cheese coming from the Swiss Alps is used like Fontina cheeses as a favourite ingredient of fondue even near the border of Italy. Swiss also use Gruyere cheese while preparing souffles and root vegetable gratins.
It is a hard cheese usually associated with Swiss cheese even if it has somewhat larger holes than Gruyere. The taste of Emmental cheese is slightly acidic and fruity.
It is a third possible substitute of Fontina from Switzerland. Appenzeller is famous among Swiss people not only in its aged form but also in its younger form. People like its non-aged form due to its mild taste and creamy texture, which makes it more alike Fontina than its aged version which is popularly known as its festive version as it is cured with wine-soaked peppery brine.
Bel Paese Cheese
It is another Italian alternative melting cheese for Fontina cheese from Alpine. Conventionally this semisoft Italian cheese was used on various Italian dishes like focaccia, pizza or as table cheese paired with fruits in melted form but now it is used as an alternative to Fontina due to its mild and buttery flavours.
It is a semi-hard cheese derived from the milk of the cows found in Po valley of Italy. Most of the people are more familiar with this Fontina cheese substitute as it is commonly found in sliced form on the counters of daily need stores. Younger provolone resembles more with Fontina on a cheese tray due to its soft and milky taste.
It is a French variety of Fontina cheese that looks more like Swiss Gruyere. It has melt-able consistency and buttery taste along with the subtle hints of the flavours of the plants and flowers the French cows graze upon.
It is another popular variety of the semisoft melting cheese made from cow milk in France. It is usually used in France in combination with potatoes, especially while preparing national staple gratin popularly known as a tartiflette.
It is a substitute of Fontina cheese from Netherlands which is found in the small spherical form with the familiar waxy and red crust. The cheese that comes from the Edam town of northern Holland, works well as table and cooking cheese both.
Thus, there are a number of substitutes that can be used instead of traditionally used Italian cheese, Fontina cheese, in various cheese trays. These substitutes are used by the cooks due to their milder taste and semisoft texture resembling with that of the original Italian cheese.
So, if you want to make various warm cheesy dishes like sandwiches, grilled hamburgers with cheese topping, gratin and fondue then you can use any of the Fontina cheese substitutes discussed above to replace the original Fontina.