Region: Lombardy, Italy
Usually found in most homes in Northern Italy, this younger and milder Fontina is a perfect melting cheese. It is perfect in mac n cheese to make the cheese sauce creamier. Sometimes when melted, cheddars have a tendency to separate but adding this style Fontina, prevents the separation in the sauce. Plus it tastes delicious and brings a sweet, nutty taste to the dish.
A cows’ milk cheese, Fontal is straw coloured, dense and smooth with some small holes and a thin brown rind. Fontal originated as a French version of the Italian cheese Fontina, but actually became its own distinct cheese and began to be made in Italy.
I would consider this a semi-soft cheese; its pale ivory paste is actually quite “springy” to the touch. Developed in 1955 as a combination of Fontina and Emmenthal, aged for 2-4 months. Fontal has developed a loyal following with cooks and chefs. It is firm in texture and mild in flavour. Buttery and nutty tasting with a slight tang that is more apparent when melted, Fontal is an excellent melting cheese.
In addition to mac n cheese, Fontal is excellent in a grilled cheese – making a glorious gooey meal. You might shred it on pasta or on your favourite pizza as an alternative to mozzarella. The best pairings are probably fresh fruit or dry salami, but if you’re inclined to wine, you might have to visit the French section for a Cotes du Rhone Rose, or to stay regional, look for indigenous Blanc de Morgex grape on the label.