A Cheesemonger Explains How To Pair Potato Chips And Cheese Like A Pro

Gourmet chips on charcuterie board
Gourmet chips on charcuterie board - svetlana15/Shutterstock

Many a party table features platters of assorted cheeses and bowls of salty potato chips. But, have you ever thought about mindfully pairing the chip flavors and type of cheeses available, and eating them in tandem? While it might sound a bit unconventional, doing so can lead to a beautiful and complementary combination of flavors, heightened further by the varying textures.

Isabella Brosen, the events and education coordinator at Murray's Cheese, spoke with Daily Meal and provided some exclusive insights on pairing chips and cheeses. She emphasizes that the key to creating a great cheese and chip partnership is to be creative. "There's no wrong way to eat these two foods together," she explains, throwing in, "Try using the potato chip as the vessel for the cheese or vice versa! Crumble it up on top or melt the cheese over them." Brosen has specific recommendations on what works best with some of the most popular chip flavors, as well as what to keep in mind when it comes to texture.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

When Choosing Chips, The Style Makes A Difference

Three styles of chips
Three styles of chips - Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock

As you get started with cheese and chip pairings, it's important to think about the textural style of the chip. Classic thin potato chips tend to have a texture that breaks easily, for instance, while ripple and kettle chips are cut thicker. Cheese expert Isabella Brosen explains that the style you choose will depend on how you're using the chip: "If the chip is being used to dip into something, you'd want to go with something sturdier, like a ridged chip, so it doesn't break when being scooped."

If you plan on pairing the snack with a cheesy dip, that means that something like ripple chips might be a better choice for maximizing the amount of dip on your chip. "Some pastas have divots and grooves in order to catch more sauce, so think of the ridges in the chip as extra room for more cheese," adds Brosen. But, if you're just slicing cheese and piling it on a chip for a one-biter, any style of chip will work.

For Lightly Salted Chips, You Can Go Strong Or Mild

Thin potato chips
Thin potato chips - AmyLv/Shutterstock

Isabella Brosen explains that for a lightly salted chip, a cheese pairing can go one of two ways: "Because they are the most mild of the chip flavors, you can either put something incredibly funky or complex with it to really let the cheese shine, or you can match intensities with the chip." If you're matching intensity level, a fresh and young cheese provides a mild and creamy pairing that complements the saltiness of the chip. In this case, Brosen's suggestion is Brillat-Savarin: "Not only will the texture contrast be heaven, but the light decadent creaminess will shine with that extra added salt." You can also experiment with other bloomy rind cheeses for similar creamy combos.

Alternately, if you're looking to showcase a bold cheese Brosen suggests a blue variety such as Gorgonzola Cremificato, which adds sweet notes. Or, she recommends experimenting with Greensward or Époisses. Greensward is a smear-ripened soft cheese with a smooth, dippable texture. Its tasting notes tend to be earthy, with hints of mushroom, as well as with touches of spruce and brandied cherries. It's pungent, but not overly so, helping highlight the complexities of the flavor. On the other hand, Époisses is a pungent, nutty cheese with a strong aroma and grassy touches that's ideal for brave souls looking for something extra funky.

With Flavored Chips, Let The Seasoning Shine

Bowl of BBQ potato chips
Bowl of BBQ potato chips - Msphotographic/Getty Images

With flavored chips, the seasoning and the cheese must complement each other, explains cheese educator Isabella Brosen. For BBQ chips, which Brosen asserts remind us of meat and grilling, she suggests Alpine-style cheese. She explains that their meltable texture and meaty flavor can complement the intensity of the chip, but adds, "Blue cheeses could also work with this category! If you really want to double down on flavor, try Rogue River Creamery's Smokey Blue on one of these guys!"

For those who love salt and vinegar, Brosen has some options. She says that you can play on a classic pairing of Parmigiano-Reggiano and balsamic vinegar: "Solo di Bruna is a little bit sweeter and nuttier than PDO Parmigiano [...], but still has that beautiful saltiness and crumbly texture." Alternatively, she says you could use briny feta to ramp up the saltiness and introduce a creamier texture.

If sour cream and onion are your fave, Brosen suggests an aged sharp cheddar due to the notes of horseradish that come out in highly acidic cheddars. "You can think of this as a loaded baked potato in a bite!" She adds. How about turning that aged sharp cheddar into a tangy, creamy dip?

You Can Also Play Around With Cheese Dips

Bowl of cheese dip
Bowl of cheese dip - Ncognet0/Getty Images

Cheese dips are an obvious solution for pairing chips and cheese, and Isabella Brosen has a couple of crowd-pleasing ideas. She suggests a classic queso dip, which would taste great with a variety of chips. Additionally, she says: "Pimento cheese dip is a fantastic mild dip with a fun texture and would complement almost any potato chip texture and flavor!"

Better yet, both these dips are customizable, allowing you to add your own twist. For instance, you could make a vegan queso dip when entertaining a crowd, or play around with the spice level by adding things like chipotle or habanero hot sauce. As for the pimento, making a honey pimento cheese dip could be a good choice for pairing with sweet BBQ chips. Or you could whip up the easy three-ingredient chili cheese dip for a hot and meaty option perfect with BBQ or plain salted chips.

Read the original article on Daily Meal