MESSERMEISTER SAN MORITZ ELITE
From Messermeister, we have their superbly functional, efficient, and handsome 9-piece set in the San Moritz Elite line, complete with a wooden block.
The set consists of an 8″ chefs’ knife (read more about this marquee beauty), a 7″ Kullenschliff santoku with granton edge, a 6″ utility knife, a 5″ scalloped utility cutter that’s perfect for tomatoes, a 3.5” paring knife, a 9″ bread knife, a 10″ steel, the take-apart kitchen scissors, and a 16 slot wood knife block, so you can add more pieces in the future.
This set will cover the full range of kitchen tasks on a day to day basis, but Messermeister also offers sets in the San Moritz Elite line that will suit any need.
You can find the basics in a two-piece set consisting of a chef and paring knife, a three-piece set that adds a utility blade, and a four-piece set that adds a scalloped-edge bread knife to the three-piece set.
Of course, if you’re looking for something more substantial than starter sets in this professional line, there’s the deluxe 23-piece set that includes boning and serrated-edge utility knives, a carving set as well as eight steak knives, all in a handsome 22-slot wooden block.
The San Moritz Elite blades are constructed from the traditional one-piece, hot-drop forging technique, and hammered from a single billet of high-carbon German steel.
Using the X50CRMOV15 stainless steel alloy, they provide top quality stain resistance as well outstanding sharpness, edge retention and ease of sharpening. And each one has been individually handcrafted by skilled cutlery artisans in Solingen, Germany.
The contemporary handles are completely molded around the tang for ergonomic comfort and a secure grip, and are made from POM (polyoxymethylene); a thermoplastic with outstanding industrial strength and stability that won’t crack or break, even after extended use.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
As there aren’t a lot of reviews for this particular set, the following comments are a compilation from a variety of reviews that cover the blades in this set, all from verified purchasers at Amazon.
Messermeister cutlery seems to be a bit of a dark horse when compared to other German brands, as it doesn’t have the same high-profile reputation. But for those who purchase them, the Messermeister blades always come out on top – and they haven’t sold out their soul to the big conglomerates.
They always receive high praise for their excellent sharpness, edge retention and the ease of honing with which the edge is restored.
The quality of construction and craftsmanship is another highlight, with the beautiful balance, control, and stability consistently getting top marks, as does the hand-finishing. There’s no need to sand off burrs on any of the spines as they come completely finished and ready to use.
The chef’s knife is truly a work of art, ideal for rock-chopping due to the angle of the blade, the large sweet spot, and the ultra-sharp edge.
The santoku is another favorite. While not quite as versatile as the chefs’ blade, the tip will quickly chop through large mounds of vegetables with a minimum of effort.
All of these pieces are comfortable to use with a natural-feeling “hand”, and the POM handles provide excellent comfort and security.
While not really a complaint, several users have commented on the weight of the Elite blades as being heftier than many other brands, and may not be appropriate for those who appreciate lighter-weight tools.
The San Moritz Elite knives in this set are built to professional standards that will please the most discerning of cooks.
With outstanding fit and finish, the quality is top notch, but it’s the edges that really elevate their value, placing them head and shoulders above competitors’ pieces in the same price range.
Expensive? Not if they last 100 years, and these knives are definitely of heirloom quality. Sturdy and durable, and with Messermeister’s awesome sharpening and refurbishing program, these knives will truly last a lifetime.
From Mercer Cutlery we have this striking 6-piece kitchen set, in a contemporary tempered glass block.
It consists of the glass block, and five of the most popular cutters in the Genesis line – a 3.5” paring knife, a 5” utility knife, an 8” chef’s knife, an 8” serrated bread knife, and a 6” boning knife, with no redundancies in style or size.
Every blade is constructed of high-carbon stainless German steel for superb rust and corrosion protection, and stain-free performance.
Precision forged for strength and durability, each piece has a full tang running the length of the handle for outstanding balance and resilience, with brawny bolsters for extra balance and protection.
Each taper-ground edge is hand polished and offers long-lasting sharpness and easy honing, as well as increased efficiency for all slicing, cutting and chopping functions.
The black Santoprene handles combine the characteristics of vulcanized rubber and thermoplastics, and are ergonomically designed for superior comfort and a secure non-slip grip, even when hands are wet.
The Santoprene will not break down from continued exposure to kitchen oils, and can withstand fluctuations between hot and cold temperatures, year after year.
The sleek glass block presents a beautiful and functional display for the knives, adding a unique, stylish touch to your kitchen.
Want a little more “warmth” than the simple glass block? Mercer also provides an option to have a bit of wood inserted.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
Mercer has been the main supplier to cooking academies in the US for 30 years, and the Genesis line provides the same professional quality and value for home cooks.
Measurements are 10 x 4 x 15”, and the set weighs nine pounds.
This set is NSF certified and should be hand washed to ensure longevity. Made in Taiwan, it comes with Mercer’s limited lifetime warranty.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
The following comments are compiled from the most often repeated remarks from verified purchasers at Amazon.com.
At the time of writing, this set is ranking very favorably with purchasers for construction, quality of materials, ease of use, and their swanky appearance.
They have a well-balanced feel that covers all the basic cutting tasks, and are encouraging some to cook more often, just for the sheer pleasure of handling them.
The knives have a good heft with nice sized handles for easy and comfortable gripping, and they arrive with a very sharp edge that is easily maintained with regular honing.
The tempered glass block is easy to assemble, and comes apart quickly for a thorough cleaning when needed – and it displays the knives beautifully, adding aesthetics to function.
However, be aware that they draw from the block perpendicular to the counter – not diagonally as with most traditional blocks.
That means you’ll need adequate clearance under cupboards, if that’s where you plan to keep them. Most users feel this isn’t a big deal and they quickly got used to the design difference, but a few couldn’t adjust to it.
A professional and sturdy product, they offer very good value for the price – particularly when compared to other sets of similar materials and construction.
There are very few complaints to report on at this time. Some were disappointed that the edges didn’t stay sharp after a few months of use, but none of these mentioned honing their blades – and I suspect they were not aware that regular maintenance is required to keep a blade keen.
A few mentioned staining on the blades. But again, this seems to be more of a lack of understanding about how to care for the knives rather than a product flaw, as one person griped about discoloration after leaving one in a sink full of water overnight – a sure method for staining steel!
The Mercer Genesis 6-piece collection offers professional quality knives at a bargain price. And despite the Made in Taiwan tag, quality control seems to be top-notch, with users raving about how pleasurable these tools are to use.
Well made from quality materials by an established company, they offer at-home chefs a great alternative to higher priced tools.
ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS FOUR STAR
From Zwilling J.A. Henckels we have this simple, efficient and handsome 3-piece essentials starter set, from their Four Star line.
With one of the oldest trademarks in the world (incorporated in 1793), Zwilling’s Four Star line celebrates its fortieth anniversary in 2016. And nothing has changed in terms of production values or construction since their inception in 1976.
This introductory set consists of an 8” chef’s knife, a 6” serrated utility knife and a 4” paring knife, packaged in a gift box. And while this set might be basic, the three pieces cover all of your necessary kitchen cutting tasks.
Precision forged in Germany using Zwilling’s Sigmaforge process, the blades are crafted from high-carbon stainless steel and ice-hardened, then tempered to 57 HRC on the Rockwell scale.
This produces a stain and corrosion resistant steel with exceptional hardness, flexibility and toughness, optimal sharpness, and blades that are virtually unbreakable.
The molded handle is constructed of polypropylene and permanently bonded to the three-quarter tang, and it has just the right amount of texture for a comfortable, non-slip grip.
And the finely balanced classic bolster/finger guard transitions seamlessly to the handle, easily accommodating all of your favorite cutting grips.
Precision lasering creates an edge with perfect geometry, ensuring each side is sharpened to the ideal cutting angle for maximum long-lasting sharpness, which also improves cutting edge retention.
A bare bones set with no storage block, these three knives cover the essentials for most kitchen work.
The Four Star line brings quality, value and comfort to the table, at a very good price.
Overall a good option for a starter set, or to replace the three elementary pieces most commonly used for prep work.
From the iconic Wusthof manufacturers in Germany comes this 7-piece set from their Classic line, complete with a slim wooden storage block.
The set includes the slim design 6-slot block, a 3.5” paring knife, a 5” serrated utility knife, a 6” Kiritsuke utility knife, an 8” bread knife, an 8” chef’s knife, and come-apart kitchen shears, all of which offer good versatility without duplication of style.
With a slender footprint on the counter and measuring only 9.5 x 3.5”, the block is crafted from your choice of six different woods in a modern style which adds to the striking profile of the Wusthof blades.
Each knife is precision forged from a single piece of high-carbon stainless steel (X50 Cr MoV 15) to a Rockwell hardness of 58 and tempered in production to ensure sharpness, enduring toughness, and ease of sharpening.
This steel formula contains 15% chromium for superb stain resistance, plus molybdenum and vanadium to ensure hardness, corrosion resistance and durability.
The bolsters are perfectly weighted for optimal balance and performance, and the full tang provides extra stability and safety.
The cutting edges are sharpened using precision laser-edge technology (PEtec) for blades that are 20% sharper than standard edges.
This provides exceptionally keen initial cutting performance, longer edge retention, and the full usage of the blade from the point of the tip to the finger guard.
With a 14° edge on each side, the tight angle reduces friction and drag for smooth, undemanding cutting. And every blade is hand buffed and polished in the final process.
The handles are triple riveted through the tang and constructed of tough and long-lasting polyoxymethylene (POM), a thermoplastic polymer known for its strength and hardness that has excellent resistance to fading and discoloration.
Hand wash only. Made in Germany, they come with Wusthof’s limited lifetime warranty.
The Wusthof Classic 7-piece set has all the individual elements that work well together to make up a useful, high-quality collection. And it easily handles all of your kitchen tasks – despite the somewhat chintzy logo sticker.
The compact size of the block works well for those concerned about a large footprint on the counter, and the entire set offers very good value for the mid-range price tag.
A nice set of well-made, durable knives that are good for daily use.
GLOBAL G SERIES
From Global, the well-known makers of fine Japanese knives, we have this exquisite 6-piece block set from their G Series featuring elegant design, excellent cutting performance and sleek one-piece construction.
The set is comprised of a 7” Oriental chef’s knife, an 8.25” carving knife, an 8.75” bread knife, a 5.25” utility (cook’s) knife and a 4” paring knife – plus a chic, contemporary stainless steel storage block for the countertop.
Like most Western-style knives, the edges are ground on both sides of the blade. But unlike Western knives, the edges are not gently beveled. Instead, the thin blades have been ground at a steep, acute angle for dramatic sharpnesss.
The large and prominent edge can be seen extending up the blade for a quarter of an inch or more, which allows for cleanly slicing through foods while maintaining the integrity of ingredients.
Manufactured with Global’s proprietary CROMOVA 18 stainless steel, every blade contains 18% chromium for superb stain resistance, as well as molybdenum and vanadium for outstanding edge retention and ease of sharpening.
During construction, the blades are rapidly quenched with a sub-zero treatment for excellent hardness, then tempered to add toughness – making them virtually unbreakable in daily use.
Unique in their construction, every knife is stamped from a single, seamless piece of steel without bolster or tang.
The textured stainless-steel handles with their distinctive dimples give a sure and comfortable grip, and they are actually hollow.
Filled with a precise amount of sand for exquisite balance, they still retain a light weight that provides comfort, and reduces hand fatigue during extended use.
And their smooth contours and seamless construction eliminate hiding spots for food and dirt, resulting in the highest levels of safety and hygiene.
The stylish stainless steel block has been designed with a diagonal profile to help protect the blades, as well as for ease of removal and storage. And the rubber base provides a secure anchor on the countertop.
The block and knives measure 14 x 2 x 1”, and weigh four pounds.
Hand wash and dry promptly, and sharpen the blades between 10-15°. Made in Japan, they come with Global’s limited lifetime warranty.
There’s no doubt that that if you can find this high-end set of Japanese knives for under $500, it’s a steal of a deal.
Crafted for the exacting expectations of professional chefs, Global’s 6-piece knife set with stainless block is a joy to use, and these will become your go-to pieces for a lifetime.
There you have it: some ideas for choosing a knife set that’s going to bring the best value for your cooking style and practices, plus our review of eight currently available sets that offer quality, reliability and value.
And if you already own a set, let us know of any recommendations you might have in the comments below – your insights are always appreciated!