Great 28 Pairings: Potatoes | culture: the word on cheese
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Great 28 Pairings: Potatoes

According to the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru (which has preserved almost 7,000 varieties of potatoes), “More than a billion people worldwide eat potatoes, and global crop production exceeds 300 million metric tons.” Originating from the Andes region in Peru and Bolivia, potatoes became one of the world’s most important crops when the Spanish conquistadors brought them back to Europe in the 16th century and to the American colonies in the 17th century. Potatoes grow best in mountainous areas and can thrive up to 15,400 feet above sea level; it’s no wonder that Alpine-style cheeses pair so well with spuds.

Potatoes range from starchy (think russets) to all-purpose (think Yukon Gold) to waxy (think red potatoes and fingerlings). These textural differences are due to the respective amounts of floury, drier amylose starch and watery, firmer amylopectin starch present in the tuber. We’re here to help you navigate the many popular preparations for potatoes and cheese.


Is there anything more alluring than thinly scalloped potatoes delicately layered with creamy sauce and gooey cheese? While some recipes call for starchy russet potatoes, we recommend Yukon Golds. Choose younger, melty cheeses like a triple crème from France, or something with a more savory bite, like peppery Caprotto from Italy.

Rodolphe le Meunier Mothais-sur-Feuille

+ scalloped potatoes

Casa Madaio Caprotto

+ scalloped potatoes


Dense, high-starch russets make for the crispiest fries. Smother fries with gravy and a salty, rich cheese for poutine; or melt a young, buttery cheese on top for the most decadent cheese fries.

Jasper Hill Farm Harbison

+ gravy and fries

Erik Murre Fromagerie Brusselse Kaas

+ fries


The best roasted potatoes boast crispy exteriors and delicate interiors—Yukon Golds achieve both desired textures. Though fingerling potatoes are waxy, they too can yield the same results when roasted with an initial steam. Shave sharp, nutty cheeses over roasted potatoes for a delectable contrast.

Huguenin Vacherin Fribourgeois Sanglé

+ roasted potatoes

Beemster X-O Aged Gouda

+ roasted potatoes

ON THE MENU AT Pommes Frites New York, NY

Visit this endearingly small space for a cone of the most authentic Belgian fries: extra crispy on the outside and soft, pillowy goodness on the inside. You can choose from 34 special sauces (including a blue cheese sauce and a cheddar cheese sauce), or indulge in Pommes Frites’ poutine, which pairs their signature fries with Canadian cheddar cheese curds.

Kristina DeMichele

Kristina DeMichele is a digital content strategist for Harvard Magazine; her writing has appeared in Cook’s Illustrated, GRLSQUASH, and Of Juliet

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