Fontina cheese is one of many cheeses that originated from Italy. It is made from the milk of red-pied Valdostana cows that can be found in the meadows of the Italian Aosta Valley. Fontina is a creamy and rich cheese, it is incredibly sweet and has a sharp aroma. It also features buttery tones of roasted nuts as the cheese lingers and melts in your mouth. Fontina is typically made from unpasteurized milk with a semi-hard texture, and features a smooth and adorned texture along with small holes in its body.
The caves and crevices in the mountains that surround the meadows of Aosta valleys enables the Fontina cheese to age with the ideal low temperature, which gives the cheese a dense and open interior. Fontina cheese also has the amazing ability to absorb the naturally filtered moisture that is produced from the caverns, which then gives it its original aroma and nuances which make it so distinct from other cheeses.
Though Fontina originated from Italy, there are other versions of the cheese such as Danish and Swedish Fontina cheese. These variants can be described with their sweet and savory flavor, and can be distinguished by their waxed rinds.
The best of the best Fontina cheese is made up in the mountains of Valley d’Aosta. From its hilly pastures, the milk will be directly delivered to the creamery, wherein large cauldrons made from copper will be filled with milk and heated. Calf rennet, an enzyme used to speed up the coagulation of milk, is added, and curd is produced as a result. Once it is firm, it will be drained and separated using a cheesecloth, then it will be placed in wheel-shaped molds. The wheel will be brined for about two months before being ready to undergo an aging process in the caverns of Valley d'Aosta.
The making of Fontina takes pure skill and craftsmanship; it is made by salting, turning, and brushing it every other day. After that, it will go on with the maturing stage for three long months before officially being given the name Fontina. The good thing about this cheese is that no preservatives of any kind are used during its production. In addition, Fontina is 100% free from gluten. Most versions of Fontina do not contain any food additives of any kind, making it a great pick for cheese lovers and health buffs alike.
Table of Contents
Health Benefits of Fontina
Aside from having all the attributes and characteristics of a great cheese, Fontina also boasts a multitude of health benefits, including the following:
- Good for your bones
- Boosts your immune system
- Helps in maintaining good cardiovascular health
- Improves your mental health
- Can help you achieve smooth skin
- Slows down different signs of aging
- Great source of Phosphorus and Vitamin K2
- Contains Calcium, Vitamin B-12, and Zinc
- It can be used as a treatment in many cases such as abdominal cramps, abdominal bloating, constipation, low blood pressure, nausea, runny nose, rashes in hives, ill stomach, diarrhea, eczema, flatulence, and anaphylaxis.
The Top Fontina Cheese Substitutes
Even with the delicious nutty, creamy flavor and the sharp aroma of Fontina cheese, there are still some occasions when one might look for a Fontina substitute. There are a couple of reasons why: First, Fontina cheese can be fairly hard to find in some towns and countries, making a good substitute essential to any Fontina-based dishes.
Second, if one wants to lower their calorie intake, as Fontina contains a high number of calories. And lastly, some people don’t like the smell of Fontina. Its smell gets more intense as the cheese ages, and can put some people off.
Improvisation and experimentation are natural parts of cooking. So why not take the plunge and try out one of our many Fontina substitutes next time you find yourself at a loss on what to replace it with. Here are our top Fontina cheese substitutes for you to try:
Mozzarella is the type of cheese that goes well with almost any dish, whether in its grated or shredded form. There really aren't many recipes out there that wouldn't benefit from a touch of Mozzarella. There is also another version of Mozzarella cheese called Mozzarella affumicata, which is the smoked version of the cheese, and can be used for soups, lasagna, meat, salads, sandwiches, and pizzas.
Just like Fontina, mozzarella cheese also originated in Italy, and it is also one of the most expensive cheeses you can find. Mozzarella was originally made from water buffalo milk. However, there are now many manufacturers that produce mozzarella from cow's milk, which can be less pricey. One characteristic that makes mozzarella unique from other cheese is that this cheese cannot be aged. Other than its original name, it is also called string cheese, which is connected to how this cheese is made.
Health Benefits of Mozzarella
- It is a rich source of Riboflavin or vitamin B2. It helps in fighting anemia, migraines, and other ailments. It also serves as an antioxidant.
- Mozzarella contains fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, and E. These vitamins help in the absorption of calcium, improvement of bone health, and protects the cell membrane
- Mozzarella is a great source of Phosphorus. It is essential not just for calcium absorption, but also for smooth digestion, and maintaining a well-functioning kidney. It also helps prevent muscle fatigue and improves brain function.
- It is packed with Zinc. Zinc is very important in increasing the body’s white blood cell count. It also fights skin diseases and helps the prostate gland to function well.
- It is rich in many nutrients and minerals such as proteins, potassium, calcium, vitamin B3, and vitamin B7, all with different functions and benefits to keep your body healthy and functioning as it should.
Gouda is the type of cheese that you should look for if you're looking to upgrade the taste of your sauce, wine, or soups. It can be prepared however you like: melted, sliced, grated, or cubed. Gouda is a semi-hard cheese that makes a perfect match for pasta, macaroni, vegetables, sandwiches, salad, and fondues. This cheese is also EU protected, just like Fontina cheese.
Fun fact: the name 'Gouda' actually originates from a place in the Netherlands. Also, unsurprisingly, Gouda is a place where you can find one of the best varieties of cheese out there: Gouda cheese! This cheese is certainly in-demand and highly consumed in many different places across the globe.
There are three ways in which the milk for this cheese is obtained. The first and most common is from cow's milk. The following two are from sheep and goat's milk, which are also both popular choices. Gouda cheese comes in both pasteurized or unpasteurized varieties, so you have plenty of options to choose from!
Health Benefits of Gouda
- Gouda is rich in Calcium. An ounce serving of gouda already contains 20 percent of the daily recommended value of calcium for your body. Calcium is essential in making the bones strong, avoid blood clotting, normalize blood pressure, and aid muscle contractions.
- It is a great source of Zinc. One ounce serving of Gouda gives your body around 9-12.5 percent of your daily recommended value of Zinc. It is essential for the following: production of protein, improvement of the body's immune system, and to maintain a normal growth development.
- It provides 12 percent of men’s daily recommended value of protein, and 15 percent for women. It gives your body enough energy and helps in repairing and maintaining healthy cells and tissues.
Havarti is another kind of cheese that is often used for wines and fruits. Havarti can be used in pasta, sandwiches, and macaroni. Some people use Havarti in combination with different kinds of herbs and spices. Havarti can also be used as a spice or base of a sauce. Friendly tip, you can enjoy Havarti at its best when it is stored at room temperature. It also goes well with savory dishes like tuna and salsa. Havarti can make such dishes even more savory.
Havarti originated from Denmark, and it has a very creamy and rich cheese that melts in your mouth to leave a wonderful taste. There is also another form of Havarti named creamy Havarti. Havarti is often used as a table cheese, just like Fontina.
Havarti can now be considered a staple food in Danish recipes, and it’s becoming more and more popular by the day. As this cheese ages, its hazelnut flavor will develop and grow, enhancing its already delicious taste.
Emmental is a popular cheese for improving and livening up the taste of dishes like grilled sandwiches and sauces. It also features a very nutty characteristic which makes it a great combination to go along with fondues and fruits. It also works well as a soup ingredient, and makes a nice addition to veggies when grated.
Emmental is more commonly known as Swiss cheese. Its scent can be very strong and sharp at times. It is a hard cheese and is made from unpasteurized cow's milk. In terms of flavor, it is acidic and slightly fruity. One distinct characteristic this cheese boasts are its sizeable holes which are carved throughout.
Health Benefits of Emmental
- Rich in protein. Compared to American cheese’s 5-grams of protein per ounce serving, Emmental cheese boasts an 8-gram amount of protein per one ounce of serving.
- Has a very low sodium content. One ounce serving of Emmental contains just 2 percent of your daily recommended value, compared with a staggering 17 percent of sodium that American cheese provides.
- It is a great source of calcium. It can already provide you 22 percent of your daily recommended value of calcium in a one-ounce serving, which is all important to keep your bones and teeth healthy.
- Emmental cheese provides a significant amount of vitamin B12, which plays an essentials role in maintaining good nerve and circulatory health.
- It contains a great amount of Phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus are not just important for the formation of bones; they are also critical to help the body maintain its bone density.
Parmesan cheese is a type of cheese that is widely used for pasta, spaghetti, sandwiches, salads, steamed vegetables, and pizzas. Parmesan is another cheese that you should look for when you want less sodium content. It also serves as a good ingredient for evening dishes, with an ability to smooth out the texture of risottos and soups.
Parmesan is yet another hard cheese that first originated in Italy. It is dense, nutty, and thick, which makes it a perfect substitute for Fontina cheese.
Parmesan is also a cheese that has a Protected Designation of Origin, which means that only cheeses made in certain regions of Italy can label this cheese as Parmesan or Pamigiano-Reggiano within the European Union. For places outside the European Union, Parmesan can also be used as a name for a type of cheese that has the resemblance of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- Parmesan is rich in protein. In fact, this cheese has one of the highest protein-density compared with other variations of cheese like Cheddar, Mozzarella, and Camembert.
- It contains a very low amount of lactose. This is good for people who are lactose-intolerant, which is a huge number of people. Parmesan has a much lower amount of lactose compared with other cheese. Furthermore, a study suggests that there are only 6 out of 109 cheese variations that have an undetectable presence of lactose, and Parmesan is one of those six cheese variations. That research concluded that Parmesan could be fine for people with lactose sensitivity. However, if your intolerance with lactose is very serious, it is better that you should avoid all dairy products.
- Provides many minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium.
- It contains Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin K2, and Probiotics, which are all essential vitamins and minerals for the body.
Provolone is a great cheese to use in soup and pasta dishes, and it is even commonly used as a salad dressing. Provolone also works super well in combination with manicotti shell, which is a pasta recipe, and many other pasta recipes.
This cheese also has a sharp taste of Italian cheese, much like Fontina which makes Provolone a good substitute for it. You can also purchase this cheese in different kinds of shape. The most common shape that you will see from stores is the pear-shaped provolone. In color, this cheese has a shade of light yellow. Provolone could be used either as a grating cheese or could be used for cooking, depending on your call.
This cheese is an Italian cheese that is semi-firm in texture, and it has a quite of mild taste. Melted provolone has a very smooth texture, and it is commonly used for sandwiches or pasta. Provolone is not just a delicious cheese, but it also provides many important nutrients and minerals.
Health Benefits of Provolone
- Provolone provides 16 to 20 percent of the daily recommended value of calcium per ounce serving. Calcium is essential in making your bones and teeth health, and it can also contribute to make muscles, nerves, and hormones process well.
- It is a good source of Vitamin A. It can provide around 8 to 11 percent of your daily recommended value of Vitamin A. It is essential for maintaining eye health, develop bone growth, regulate cell division, boost the immune system, and protect different body systems like urinary, respiratory, and intestinal.
However, you should also consider that Provolone contains saturated fat and sodium. Though Provolone is a delicious cheese, keep in mind to eat it in moderation to maintain a healthy diet. Too much saturated fat can lead to diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Cheese is indeed a source of fat, but it's hard to deny the fact that it is a delicious and nutritious ingredient for a lot of dishes, which is why you should always keep in mind to control the amount of cheese that you consume. Anything that is taken excessively could be harmful, so remember to be responsible and manage your diet responsibly.