Once upon a time in Australia there were only two varieties of potato - Old and New. Now there are more varieties available than you can poke a stick at.
For mashing our favourites are Nicolas, Desirees, Bintjes, King Edwards, and Russet Burbanks.
For potato salads White Hat's favourites are waxy varieties such as Pink Fir, Kipfler, Patrone and Pink Eyes.
For roasting or baking White Hat's favourites are King Edwards and Delaware.
For chips (or French Fries) White Hat's favourites are low sugar and floury varieties such as Sebago, Russet Burbanks, and Bintje.
For boiling or steaming White Hat's favourites are waxy varieties such as Patrone and Desiree
For gnocchi White Hat's favourites are Nicolas.
This waxy potato is the mainstay of the Netherlands. Just a little creamier than the Patrone. Creamy with a yellow flesh. Good for potato salads.
Good when you want crispy skins. Usually only around at the height of Summer.
A white potato good for mashing or roasting.
A white potato good for roasting and chips
Pink skin and yellow flesh. Great for boiling.
It would be impolite to call Dutch Creams a 'spud'. They deserve the full respect of being called a Potato (with a capital P). And they are remarkably cheap - in Australia at least. Originally from Holland, the best ones White Hat has tasted come from Tasmania. They don't need cream and butter - just a little salt.
White flesh. Good for chips, roasting and mashing.
Cream skin and white flesh. Good for boiling whole or potato salad. According to tradition this potato originated on the isle of Jersey where a local farmer selected a particularly fine potato with 16 eyes. He cut the eyes out and all Jersey Royals have descended from that source hence the full name Jersey Royal Fluke.
Creamy skin and white flesh - the old staple
White flesh. Great for roasting, boiling and mashing.
Kipfler (or German Finger Potato)
A waxy, finger shaped with creamy-coloured flesh. Great boiled, steamed and in potato salads and for presentation purposes.
Yellow skin and flesh. Good for boiling and mashing.
Creamy-coloured skin and flesh. General purpose except for chips.
Yellow flesh. Excellent for mashing and gnocchi and good for boiling, chips and roasting. It has a very buttery flavour.
another good all rounder
Pink Eye (or Southern Gold)
A cold climate potato, so those from Southern Tasmania are usually the best. A very nutty flavour. Good for roasting, boiling and salads.
Pink Eye potatoes
Roast or salads. Waxy very firm never fall apart. Light yellow flesh and skin.
Pink Fir Apple Potatoes
The ultimate salad potato. They are very waxy and very firm
Pink skin and white flesh A good general purpose spud.
Originating from Peru, it has a subtle lavender flesh which can add a decorative touch to potato salads or gnocchi. No need to peel.
Purple skin and yellow flesh. Good for roasting, mashing and chips.
Creamy texture, white flesh, rosy skin
Russet Burbanks (Idaho)
A good frying potato and good all-rounder
Red skin and yellow flesh. Good for roasting, mashing and chips.
Cream skin and white flesh. Good for chips, mashing and general purpose.
A waxy potato with a yellow flesh.
A yellow fleshed potato that is a good all rounder and good for potato salads.
With a pure white flesh and a creamy texture they are a very good general purpose spud. Named for the Department of Agriculture's potato research station. Good mashed or in their jackets in oven. The purple skin will rub off under a tap.
This potato has became so uncommon now that we are even unsure of its spelling. It is more difficult to grow than more recent varieties which is why it has fallen out of favour but White Hat finds it to be a particularly flavoursome all-rounder and we particularly like it for curries and casseroles where it holds its shape while absorbing the flavours of the sauce. Those in Victoria should be able to pick them up at the Melbourne Showgrounds Farmers' Market or the Daylesford Farmers' Market.
Developed in Canada and not readily available in Australia, the Yukon Gold is a yellow potato similar to the Bintje but not quite as flavourful. A useful general purpose potato. At White Hat we wouldn't go out of our way to buy it in Australia, but in USA where good produce is harder to find than Oz it may substitute for some of the varieties listed above.
If you are in Melbourne, the best place for potatoes is the potato stall at the Prahran Market where you will find at least a dozen varieties on any one day. Stall 50 at the South Melbourne Market also has a wide choice.
Similarly there are several stalls in Sheds H and I at the Victoria Market which carry a wide variety of spuds.
A selection of varieties from Dobson's Potatoes in the Goulburn Valley will often be available at specialty greengrocers and markets. If you are travelling in country Victoria be sure to check out the Farmers Markets and farm gate sales.
Some potato recipes
Trentham Farmers' Market
Trentham's authentic Farmers Market has a selection of dairy and goats cheeses, fresh honey, eggs and live poultry, preserves, local potatoes and sourdough breads, organic and conventional produce, olive products, plants and fresh flowers, organic and conventional wines and an assortment of natural farm products.
Crookwell Potato Festival
Celebrating over 150 years of growing potatoes high on the Southern Tableland of NSW