Have you ever come across Fontinella cheese and wondered what this delectable delight was all about?
Fontinella, an Alpine cheese with a mild and nutty taste, has been gaining in popularity as a go-to choice for creamier dishes.
And while it might not be something that’s found in everybody’s pantry, knowing a few of the best substitutes can help bridge the gap any time you find yourself without Fontinella.
From provolone to Swiss, there are some delicious alternatives if you need to make up for the lack of Fontinella.
Easily replace the mild and nutty flavor with a variety of other options to make meals full of creamy flavors just as delicious.
What is Fontinella Cheese?
Fontinella cheese is a mild and semi-soft Italian cheese made from cow’s milk.
It is also called Fontal, which stands for “formaggio montagna,” or mountain cheese.
The term comes from the cheese’s origin in the Aosta Valley region of Italy.
It is related to fontina, though it’s not quite as creamy or aromatic.
Fontinella has a bright white paste and a slightly tart flavor that makes it ideal for a range of recipes, from pasta dishes to sandwiches and paninis.
When exposed to heat, this cheese will melt evenly without separating or becoming too gooey.
The mushrooms, onions, or other vegetables often featured on sandwiches with Fontinella cheese also pick up its flavor nicely when melted together.
The cheese is usually aged for about 30 days before going on sale — this ensures that its gentle hint of tartness has had time to develop properly.
Because the aging process lasts longer than with other cheeses, there will be more of an earthy aroma and taste present in this variety when compared to others such as mozzarella or feta which are aged only briefly (if at all) before being sold.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Fontinella Cheese
Although the cheese can be eaten alone, it is most often used to add flavor to sandwiches and pasta dishes.
Unfortunately, this type of cheese may be difficult to find in some areas; however there are several other cheeses that can serve as substitutes in recipes calling for Fontinella.
The five best substitutes for Fontinella cheese are:
1 – Provolone Cheese
Provolone cheese is a semi-hard cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk.
It has a mild flavor, making it perfect for slicing and melting on sandwiches and pizzas.
When aged for at least six months, provolone takes on a sharper flavor.
Provolone pairs well with fruits, nuts, cured meats, olives and white wines.
Fontinella and provolone have very similar flavors which makes it one of the best substitutes for fontinella cheese in dishes requiring melted cheese like baked pastas or macaroni and cheese.
2 – Asiago Cheese
Asiago cheese is a hard, aged cheese originating from the northern Italian village of Asiago.
It is made from cow’s milk and comes in two varieties.
Fresh Asiago, with a pale yellow color, milder taste and soft texture, is usually consumed within two months.
Aged Asiago has a hard, dark-brown rind and drier texture; it can be stored for up to 12 months.
The flavor of aged Asiago can range from mildly sharp to quite pungent.
For the best flavor and texture, most experts recommend using freshly grated or shaved Asiago as a Fontinella cheese substitute.
3 – Gouda Cheese
Gouda—also known as Dutch cheese—has a rich and creamy taste with a hint of caramel sweetness.
Its texture is smooth and semi-firm, making it an excellent melting cheese.
Gouda comes in a variety of strengths from mild to aged and can be enjoyed as a table cheese when grated or cubed.
In cooking, the buttery notes work well on pizzas, burgers, quiches and soups — just substitute Fontinella for Gouda and you’re golden.
4 – Gruyere Cheese
Gruyere cheese originates from the Swiss Alps and is a good substitute for Fontinella cheese as it has a similar earthy, nutty and sweet taste.
Gruyere cheese also melts well making it a versatile addition both to homemade dishes or pre-prepared recipes.
It makes an effective substitute for Fontinella cheese in dishes such as macaroni and cheese, French onion soup and quiches.
However, Gruyere cheese lacks the tanginess in flavor that Fontinella cheese has, on its own Gruyere may not be an ideal replacement if you’re looking for a completely identical taste.
For best results try mixing Gruyere with another strong flavored cheese like parmesan to create a flavor close to that of Fontinella.
5 – Manchego Cheese
Manchego cheese is a flavorful sheep’s milk cheese from La Mancha in Spain.
It has a hard, ivory-yellow paste with an inedible rustic rind.
Available in several varieties, some of which are aged for up to two years, Manchego cheese is considered by many to be the best-tasting of all Spanish cheeses.
Its flavor is distinct and is often described as nutty, earthy and slightly sweet.
It can be used as a substitute for Fontinella cheese in any recipe because it has a very similar flavor profile.
Fontinella cheese is a flavorful and semi-soft Italian cheese that is ideal for melting.
It has a delicate flavor with a slightly sweet taste, making it perfect for light sandwiches, snacks and pasta dishes.
Fontinella is similar to fontina, but it has a softer texture and less pronounced nutty flavor.
Unfortunately, if you’re unable to find Fontinella cheese in your local grocery store, there are several other options out there as replacements.
From soft cow’s milk cheeses to harder goat’s milk varieties – all of these substitutes share the same deliciously mellow flavor of Fontinella for quick and easy meals at home.
Be sure to try all of these delicious cheeses when fontinella isn’t available.