Fontina is a cow’s milk Italian cheese made specifically in Aosta Valley (the Alps). There are also other varieties such as Danish or Swedish Fontina that are less expensive, but still hold up in flavor. You are most likely to come across a Danish Fontina in the U.S., but it isn’t typically Kraft cheese cheap. Fontina is an amazing cheese and one of my favorites. I ask myself why would anyone want to find a Fontina cheese substitute when it tastes so good. The reality is that it isn’t exactly cheap and it isn’t always easy to find. Sometimes finding a Fontina cheese substitute is your only option, particularly when a recipe calls for it. But, what exactly makes a good Fontina cheese substitute?
Substitute for Fontina Cheese
Fontina’s texture is semi-soft to medium with a subtle nutty and buttery flavor. It is an excellent cheese to melt because it has wonderful melting properties that create a creamy texture. In my mind, there isn’t a cheese substitute that matches both the taste and texture of Fontina. However, five of the most common substitutes that are often mentioned are Provolone, Gouda, Emmental, Beaufort and Gruyere. If you can find and afford Beaufort, hands down go with it for a substitute. Alternatively, use Gruyere for its somewhat similar nutty flavor to Beaufort and Fontina. I wouldn’t recommend Provolone, Gouda, or Emmental unless they are mixed with several ingredients, which makes the cheese a secondary component. These cheeses just don’t taste the same as Fontina and won’t be helpful for their intended purpose. I highly recommend hunting down Fontina and potentially paying a few extra bucks, instead of substituting for it. You’ll be happy you did so!