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Each week we profile a different variety of Cheese, from the texture to the serving suggestion…this week it’s the smooth and slightly tart Fontina.


Heritage

Fontina originated in Italy in 1477 in the mountainous Val d’Aosta region near the Swiss border. It was named Fontina d’Aosta for Mont Fontin and the nearby village of Fontinaz. Fontina is considered to be one of the most versatile cheeses in the world because it is excellent as both a table cheese and a cooking cheese. Fontina has been copied often; the most notable versions are the Italian-style, Swedish-style and Danish-style. Today, Wisconsin cheesemakers produce all three varieties.

Description

Made in 3 styles: DANISH: slightly tart, nutty, mild earthy flavor; mellow to sharp depending on age. Red waxed. SWEDISH: slightly tart, nutty, mild earthy flavor; mellow to sharp depending on age. Red waxed… ITALIAN: mild, earthy, buttery flavor. Smooth, supple texture with tiny holes. Brown coating.

Appearance

Danish-style: Pale ivory to light straw yellow, red wax coating, slightly rounded corners Italian-style: Ivory to pale gold, both rindless and brown coating Swedish-style: Pale ivory to light straw yellow, red wax coating, straight corners

Texture

Smooth, supple with tiny holes, semi-soft, slightly creamy

Flavor

Danish-style and Swedish-style: slightly tart, tangy, nutty, light earthy flavor; mellow to sharp depending on age Italian-style: mild, earthy, buttery

Serving Suggestions

Serve Fontina for breakfast with fruit and breads or use in egg dishes, crepes, fondue and Raclette applications. Add shredded Fontina to the crust of your next apple pie or add it to dough for cheese breads. Layer slices of Fontina between slices of polenta drizzled with marinara sauce; bake until cheese melts and the dish is heated through. Excellent in Focaccia sandwiches layered with pesto, roasted red peppers and Italian salami; serve hot or cold. Layer slices of Fontina with mild copa or wine salami and roasted red peppers on a panini, then grill.

Goes Well With

Veal, prosciutto, Genoa salami, crusty bread, peaches, melons, figs, nectarines Fruity wines; light reds like Gamay Beaujolais or Pinot Noir; whites like Riesling or Gewurztraminer

Styles/Varieties

Danish-style Fontina: 10-pound red wax wheel Italian-style Fontina: 20-pound brown-coated or rindless wheel, 10-pound rindless wheel, 10-pound half wheel, 8- to 10-ounce random-weight cuts Swedish-style Fontina: 18-pound rindless block, 10-pound red wax wheel, 8- to 10-ounce random-weight cuts The Italian version of fondue is made with Fontina, white truffles, eggs, milk and white wine. It is whipped and poured over individual plates of rice, boiled potatoes, polenta or steamed vegetables. Some Wisconsin cheesemakers refer to Danish-style Fontina as Scandinavian-style.

Performance Note

Fontina was made popular in the United States by the Swedes when they began exporting Swedish Fontina.

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