You've got a friend in fontina

Fontina is like that one amazing friend who will do anything for you. Need a creamy, melting cheese for polenta? Fontina's up for that. Desperate for an alpine-style substitute for your fondue? No worries – fontina has your back. Want to build a killer charcuterie board, or master a new mac n cheese recipe? Fontina's is all over it.

This amazingly adaptable Italian-style cheese originated in Italy's Aosta Valley and has a rich and creamy flavor with tones of butter and roasted nuts that gets stronger and more pungent over time. The soft texture of young fontina grows harder over time as well. And like its mountain cousins, swiss and emmentaler, fontina is riddled with small and fascinating holes or eyes according to our world renown cheesemakers.

In Wisconsin, we've been making fontina since Italian cheesemakers arrived here in the late 19th century. Wisconsin fontina has a full yet gentle flavor and is often accented with creative rubs and flavor infusions. When you want a versatile cheese that will never let you down, you can always count on Wisconsin fontina.

How to "friend" fontina

NATURALLY, Fontina is awesome in all sorts of Italian dishes. Pizza, pasta, quiche, and gratins are all more dazzling with fontina. Fontina never met a warm chicken sandwich it didn't pair well with. Fontina is a smart foundation for any charcuterie recipe, and you can always wow your party guests away with roll ups of zucchini and bacon wrapped around warm chunks of fontina cheese.

When it's time to drink, we love fontina with vouvray, chardonnay, riesling, chianti, Montepulciano, or cabernet sauvignon. And if beer is on the agenda, we recommend bocks, saisons, and lambics.

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FAQs: What is fontina?

What is fontina?

Fontina is a semi-hard, Italian-style cow's milk cheese a milk fat content around 45%, resulting in a rich and creamy texture and a nutty, buttery flavor that gets sharper with age. Fontina is typically aged for 90 days in caverns that give the cheese its unique and nuanced flavor. Like other alpine-style cheeses, fontina has a smooth texture with small eyes that are produced when bacteria in the cheese releases carbon dioxide that forms air pockets.

How is fontina made?

Traditionally, fontina is made with unpasteurized cow's milk in large copper cauldrons. After the curd is separated from the whey, it is drained through cheesecloth and pressed into large round molds. The cheese is brined for two months, then aged for three months in caves. During that time, the cheese is turned, brushed and salted every other day.

Why Wisconsin fontina is oh-so fine

In Wisconsin, our cheesemakers have been fussing with fontina since immigrants from northern Italy arrived in our dairy lands in the late 19th century. Through trial and error, they've created new takes on this Italian-style classic that makes Wisconsin fontina a real cheese fan favorite.

Of course, that kind of experimentation is nothing new to Wisconsin. For 175 years, we've been making cheese rooted in tradition but improved by innovation. As a result, we produce more flavors and varieties of cheese today than anywhere else in the world. And the world has taken notice – we've got 5,552 cheese awards in our XXXXXL trophy case to prove it. That's actually more awards than any other state or country – including Italy (sorry to break it to you like that, amici.)

So next time you're fixing to cook with fontina, do yourself a favor and make it Wisconsin fontina. Trust us, yourself will thank you.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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