Published May 1, 2005. From Cook's Illustrated.
Sometimes the middle ground is the safest.
Fontina cheese is one of our favorites to use in cooking because it has excellent melting properties and a mild, nutty flavor. But caveat emptor: There are different types of fontina, and, for most cooking purposes, we recommend the middle ground. The high-end Italian fontina has small irregular holes, a rather elastic texture, and a natural brown rind. At about $15 a pound, it also has nice price tag. For serving with crackers, this is the cheese to buy.
On the other end of the spectrum is Swedish or Danish fontina. Coated in red wax, this inexpensive cheese has a generic, unremarkable flavor. Between the two is an Italian-made fontina that costs about $8 a pound; it has a waxy brownish coating and a semi-soft, super-creamy texture. This is the fontina that we recommend using in our recipe for Frittata with Broccoli Rabe, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Fontina, as well as in the spinach and fontina stuffing for our Stuffed Thick-Cut Pork Chops. We purchase it from our local supermarket; it is also available in good cheese shops.