The Good: Melts well, Good flavor, Tastes delightful as a component ingredient, Easy to work with
The Bad: Comparatively expensive, Not the most flavorful cheese on its own.
The Basics: Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina is a wonderful baseline cheese that is better as a replacement for any number of other cheeses than a cheese on its own.
As I near the end of the products that I picked up on my Midwestern vacation, I am happy to reach my final (for now!) Sartori cheese review. Sartori has become one of my favorite cheese brands, virtually overnight, and my hope is that they will continue to make amazing cheeses with incredible flavors for me to enjoy and review. When I stopped by one of their plants and picked up a whole load of their cheeses, I tried to get a cool variety of their flavors. In all honesty, I only picked up the Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina cheese for two reasons: 1. I had never had a Fontina, so I had no idea what to expect, and 2. With so many different flavors of Sartori cheeses, I wanted to review a flavor that was essentially unflavored in the hopes of having a Sartori cheese that I wasn’t just flat-out gushing for (which I usually do not do, but have been doing for most Sartori cheeses and “average” flavored cheeses seldom get from me). In the latter regard, I found myself defied by the quality of Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina and I found that I actually enjoy Fontina quite a bit.
That said, Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina is one of the best cheeses I have tried that enhances virtually all things it is paired with, but it is not a truly indispensible cheese on its own.
I love flavorful cheese and the Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina cheese certainly lives up to that! Sold at their Antigo production plant for $5 for the 8 oz. package, this is not an inexpensive cheese, but it is a good one, especially when it is used to replace mild cheddar, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses.
Sartori is a manufacturer of premium cheeses in Wisconsin. The intent of most Sartori cheeses is that they will be cheeses that hold their own as snacks that may be served to consumers directly. Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina is good, but it takes about five bites of it before it starts being delicious on its own, unlike many other cheeses. Sartori cheeses come in blocks that are premeasured, at least for the Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina cheese.
The Extra-Aged Fontina cheese is as its name implies. This is a solid white cheese with no additives. Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina cheese in packaged in a simple plastic wrap and the cheese is hard enough to maintain its shape when cut open.
Ease Of Preparation
Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina cheese is a cheese, so more often than not, it is used on its own or as an ingredient in a recipe. Preparation of the cheese is pretty simple; cut the plastic away and slice the cheese! This cheese is very easy to work with, even after it has been open for a while. While it has a slightly sharper flavor than mozzarella, it is about as easy to work with as that softer cheese. The Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina cheese does not fracture or fall apart when one uses a grater or cheese plane. It was very easy to work with on its own.
After the cheese is sliced, it melts beautifully with wonderful evenness and liquidity, making it an ideal ingredient to make flavorful omelets or to replace cheddar cheese in a grilled ham and cheese sandwich or a Parmesan cheese on pasta!
The Extra-Aged Fontina has a very mild scent to it. In fact, this is reminiscent of a mozzarella cheese in terms of its aroma.
On the tongue, however, the Extra-Aged Fontina is flavorful and mildly sharp. This has a robust flavor, like a Parmesan, without the sourness associated with an extra sharp cheddar or other hard cheese. The result is a cheese that accents flavors without overwhelming them, as opposed to one that one wants to have linger on their tongue on its own. The Extra-Aged Fontina cheese is not overly salty or sour.
Melted into or onto something like a grilled cheese sandwich or in an omelet, the Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina takes on a more bubbly taste, much like an extra sharp cheddar. In its melted form, it has a salty, sour flavor that it does not possess at room temperature.
Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina cheese has almost no aftertaste after it is consumed.
Sartori Cheeses are not intended to be all that one lives on. But for those who try, the Extra-Aged Fontina cheese is not overly healthy, though their cheeses have wonderful, natural ingredients. A serving size is considered a one inch block (1 oz.). In that, there are 110 calories, only 50 of which are from fat. This cheese has 30% of one's daily recommended saturated fat intake and 6% of the RDA of sodium. On the plus side, it does have 22% of the RDA of calcium and has seven grams of protein.
Obviously, Extra-Aged Fontina cheese is a dairy product, so those who are lactose intolerant will have problems with it. This cheese is made of Pasteurized cow’s milk, cheese cultures, salt and enzymes. That makes it all-natural.
As a cheese, Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina cheese should be kept refrigerated. So long as that happens, it ought to stay fresh for several weeks. Even after being opened, this cheese remains pliable and enjoyable for a month! Our package bought just over a month ago had an expiration date of April 14, 2015.
Extra-Aged Fontina is a cheese, so it is not going to stain or ruin anything unless it is ground into a fabric. Baring that, cleanup of nonporous surfaces is as easy as wiping them with a damp cloth.
Sartori Extra-Aged Fontina cheese is flavorful, but better as a supplement than a cheese on its own.
For other Sartori cheese reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Limited Edition Peppermint BellaVitano
Black Pepper BellaVitano
For other cheese and meat reviews, please visit my Meat And Cheese Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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