What is Fontina Cheese

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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One may say what’s so special about fontina cheese, and we will say about almost everything – from its amazing taste to its nutrition content and the long list of health benefits. Let’s take a detailed look at what it is and its health benefits below.

What is Fontina Cheese?

Fontina cheese is a specialized aromatic, gluten-free cheese made in a specific region of the Italian Alps, in the Aosta Valley. It undergoes a unique production process and benefits from the bountiful meadows of that region. When the dairy cows are moved to those higher altitudes in the spring, the lush grasses of the valley provide a unique, earthy flavor to the milk. With a milk fat content of roughly 45%, this rich and creamy cheese has a nutty flavor and must be aged for at least 90 days to be considered true fontina cheese.

Grated and sliced fresh cheese on a chopping board on a wooden table

Cheese is nutritious food made mostly from the milk of cows. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition

100 grams of fontina cheese contains approximately 390 calories, as well as 25 grams of protein and 31 grams of fat, 20 of which are saturated fat. This serving of fontina cheese also contains calcium, phosphorous, and sodium. This cheese also contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin B12.

Nutrition Facts

Cheese, fontina
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]37.92
Energy [kcal]389
Energy [kJ]1628
Protein [g]25.6
Total lipid (fat) [g]31.14
Ash [g]3.79
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]1.55
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]1.55
Calcium, Ca [mg]550
Iron, Fe [mg]0.23
Magnesium, Mg [mg]14
Phosphorus, P [mg]346
Potassium, K [mg]64
Sodium, Na [mg]800
Zinc, Zn [mg]3.5
Copper, Cu [mg]0.03
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.01
Selenium, Se [µg]14.5
Thiamin [mg]0.02
Riboflavin [mg]0.2
Niacin [mg]0.15
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.43
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.08
Folate, total [µg]6
Folate, food [µg]6
Folate, DFE [µg]6
Choline, total [mg]15.4
Vitamin B-12 [µg]1.68
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]261
Retinol [µg]258
Carotene, beta [µg]32
Vitamin A, IU [IU]913
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.27
Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units [IU]23
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0.6
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) [µg]0.6
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]2.6
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]19.2
4:0 [g]0.72
6:0 [g]0.49
8:0 [g]0.31
10:0 [g]0.65
12:0 [g]0.8
14:0 [g]2.96
16:0 [g]8.46
18:0 [g]2.66
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]8.69
16:1 [g]0.89
18:1 [g]7.1
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]1.65
18:2 [g]0.86
18:3 [g]0.79
Cholesterol [mg]116
Tryptophan [g]0.36
Threonine [g]0.94
Isoleucine [g]1.38
Leucine [g]2.66
Lysine [g]2.33
Methionine [g]0.71
Cystine [g]0.26
Phenylalanine [g]1.5
Tyrosine [g]1.52
Valine [g]1.93
Arginine [g]0.84
Histidine [g]0.96
Alanine [g]0.82
Aspartic acid [g]1.41
Glutamic acid [g]5.14
Glycine [g]0.46
Proline [g]3.32
Serine [g]1.48
Sources include : USDA

How is Fontina Cheese Made?

The production process of fontina cheese is what sets it apart in terms of both flavor and international prestige. Although there are numerous other varieties of this cheese, including types from Denmark, Sweden, Argentina, and others, the original Fontina cheese from the Aosta Valley is special. Let’s take a look at how it is made.

  • Step 1: The specialized cows’ milk is heated in large copper cauldrons where cheese curd begins to develop.
  • Step 2: It is then strained through cheesecloth, and placed in wheel molds.
  • Step 3: These molds then spend three months in the caves and grottos of that valley, being turned, salted and carefully processed by skilled artisans, many from families who have been making Fontina cheese for generations.
  • Step 4: After the cheese is fully matured, it can be sent out into the world!

Benefits of Fontina Cheese

There are many excellent benefits of fontina cheese, owing to its rich nutrient content, including protecting heart health and reducing intestinal issues, as well as boosting bone health and improving cellular communication.

  • Heart health: Numerous studies have shown the benefits of both vitamin B and vitamin K for protecting cardiovascular health, the latter of which is good for protecting the integrity of our arteries.
  • Gut health: Fontina cheese has long been used as a traditional remedy for treating constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and cramps, and is generally known to boost gut health. Research done on a variety of cheese has found fontina to be a nutritious and potentially bioactive ingredient.
  • Bone health: The high levels of calcium and phosphorous found in this specialty cheese is excellent for protecting bone health as we age. Numerous studies over the years have found a direct link between a reduction in osteoporosis and regular calcium intake, and a single half-ounce of this cheese provides nearly 20% of the calcium we require each day.
  • Cellular communication: Calcium and phosphorous also play a key role in ensuring rapid cellular communication and nerve function, as well as regulating the metabolism, maintaining normal energy levels, and preventing certain kidney disease, as shown in numerous studies.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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