Fontina is a creamy, semi-firm Italian cow’s milk cheese that dates back to the 12th century. Fontina was originally made in the Aosta Valley region of the Italian Alps. Today, Fontina is made all over Italy, as well as in, France, Quebec, Argentina, and several Scandinavian countries. A good quality Fontina typically has a golden rind with a pale yellow interior, and is sometimes dotted with small holes. Fontina has a mild, nutty flavor and is a great melting cheese.
When selecting your cheese, check the expiration date. The flavor continues to change as the cheese ages, so select as fresh a cheese as possible.
Price can also sometimes be an indicator of quality; more expensive cheeses have often been aged longer or come from small artisan producers.
When selecting your cheese, look for an evenly textured rind that doesn't show any signs of discoloration.
Fontina cheese should be stored in containers and kept in the cheese drawer of the refrigerator. Keeping the cheese in a container also prevents softer cheeses from absorbing the flavors of other foods in the refrigerator. When properly stored, opened Fontina can be kept for up to 10 days.
To freeze Fontina, make sure it is well sealed in a plastic bag or plastic wrap. Keep the cheese in the refrigerator overnight to defrost.
Sprinkle Fontina onto your pizza right along with the classic mozzarella.
To add a nutty flavor to a traditional grilled cheese sandwich, add Fontina instead of Cheddar or American.
Before cooking with Fontina, be sure to take off the rind
Before eating your cheese, set it out and allow it to reach room temperature.
Use a bit of grated Fontina to thicken a sauce, but be sure to heat the mixture only until the cheese has melted. Overheating can harden the cheese and create a lumpy sauce.
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