This is an ancient style of blade, but its crescent shape makes it the perfect tool for that most modern of occupations - looking good in the kitchen!
Half-an-hour's practice with a Mezzaluna will see you reducing massive piles of herbs and vegetables down to a fine dice; just like a professional (see Hints and Tips below) and the double handed rolling action will allow you to slice molten hot pizza and turkish bread with a flourish.
Like all good old knives (remember the ones your grandma had?), our Mezzalunas are handforged from tempered steel, so you have to show them a little love and care (see Care Instructions below), but they look so good out on display and they are so easy and satisfying to use that they're worth lavishing a little care on.
We make Mezzalunas in TWO sizes - LARGE and SMALL. Now, because they're hand made, no two blades are the same, but the large blade has a cutting surface of roughly 33 cm and the small around 23 cm.
Working out which one to buy is not easy. If you're short on space or not the sort of person to leave equipment out on display, go the small. Similarly, if realistically you know you're not going to make a career out of chopping garnish or slicing up hot turkish bread to feed the hungry masses, a small will definitely do the job.
If however, you can see your knife sitting on your kitchen bench on its display stand or hanging on a hook near your board, go the large. It's a machine. You can hack through a huge bunch of parsley like you're a mower and the parsley's the lawn, you can mince garlic like a food processor and in one motion you can sever a giant pizza. Hee-ya!
Whichever you chose, did I mention that they're fun? There's something really performance-like about that lovely crunchy sound you get rolling a mezzaluna through a pizza - like there should be a drum-roll accompaniment or something. And cutting things up, well forget your boring old kitchen knife, this is the way! With very little thought (and absolutely no risk to your fingers) you can't help but start rocking that blade faster and faster (like you've been asked to audition for The Bionic Woman) - be careful - you're in serious danger of having such a good time that you won't stop until you've reduced your herbs to mush!
- Oversized and gently rounded handles for good grip and comfort
- A range of Australian hardwood timber handles to suit your kitchen - dark brown, pale or red tones
- Solid brass rings ensure handles never loosen or wobble
- Tempered steel handforged blade - authentic and practical knife material
- Finely honed edge cuts cleanly (no bruising your herbs) and is easy to sharpen (see Sharpening Tips section below)
- Beautiful matching hardwood stand with brass nameplate
As well as the standard size referred to here, Mezzalunas (and all other tools) can be made to your specifications AND/OR personalised with wood engraving or metal etching - see the Customise Tools page.
|Mezzaluna Standard Dimensions|
|Blade:||Large - 33cm
Small - 23cm
|Handles:||8cm x 3.5cm|
|Block:||Width 7.5cm, Height 5cm, depth 4.5cm|
|Total Length:||Large - 35.5cm
Small - 25.5cm
|Total Width: (without block)||Large - 21cm
Small - 19.5cm
|Total Width: (including block)||Large - 23cm
Small - 22cm
|Weight:||Large - 400g
Small - 350g
Block - 200g
|$ ~ Tool Prices ~ Order Online ~ Purchase Information|
Mezzaluna Care Instructions
Our mezzalunas are made traditionally from tempered steel. We tried doing them out of stainless steel, but (pardon the pun) they just didn't cut it. Stainless steel is great for laser cut knives, particularly if you don't need to sharpen them, like scalloped-edged bread knives (see our Bread Knife below) but it's lousy for handmade knives because it gets too tempered when you beat the shit out of it on the forge and it just won't hold a nice, fine, easy to sharpen cutting edge the way real steel does.
As well as these technicalities, we think the stainless steel ones are just, well, wrong somehow. Mezzalunas are proud traditional knives with a long history behind them and we believe they should look it...
Having said all of that, mezzalunas are not hard to look after. They do need regular oiling and will rust if put in a dishwasher or left lying around wet, but all you have to do is after each use, wipe them over with a damp cloth or wash them gently and dry them thoroughly. Spray or wipe down with olive oil before you put them away.
How to Sharpen a Mezzaluna Blade
Because of the steel, the tempering and because Pete takes a lot of time hand-honing the edge; these mezzalunas really keep their sharpness. You should only have to sharpen your blade once or twice a year. And by 'sharpening', we don't mean some complicated rigmarole with a block and oil and stuff. All you need to do is to run over each side with a steel.
If you've never done this before, it's one of those simple, yet deeply satisfying things:
Hold the knife upside down by one handle and upwards, with the blade facing away from your body (see picture), rest the other handle on the inside of your forearm. Run the steel up and back along the blade once or twice at about a 15° angle. Repeat for the other side.
Never store steel knives on a magnetic block or strip, or leave them loose in a draw with other knives, because when knives are magnetized, the iron particles align in one direction and the blade goes blunt much more quickly. The only other exception to the 'once, maybe twice a year' rule is if you do a lot of cutting on marble or granite surfaces. Being harder than steel, these surfaces tend to blunt the edge and you may have to sharpen a little more often.
Mezzaluna Hints & Tips
Anyone can use a mezzaluna, you just pick it up and away you go. So why, you might wonder, have we managed to write so much about something so basic?
Well, we don't want you to just USE your mezzaluna, we want you to become a MINCING MACHINE, and we want you to reach that exalted status as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
When we first started selling our products, we did a big trade show. Pete hates crowds (and in Pete Land, any gathering of more than 3 people constitutes a crowd). He is also absolutely hopeless at any sort of sales chit-chat (or indeed chit-chat in general) and in an effort to avoid SPEAKING TO STRANGERS, he basically barricaded himself behind the chopping board and chopped parsley like his life depended on it.
Funnily enough, this ended up being a fantastic sales technique. People love a bit of a demonstration and Pete started to relax because he had something to do. There was a close moment when he first realized he was actually ATTRACTING THE CROWD, but after a while he loosened his death grip on the handles and even started answering questions.
If there's anything people like more than a demonstration, it's the chance to have a go themselves. Pretty soon punters were actually arguing about who's turn it was next and demanding more parsley (like I had a bush or two on me) and my 'man of few words' was actually standing IN VERY CLOSE PROXIMITY TO STRANGERS, putting his hands over their hands and showing them how to 'Rock' and 'Roll' and 'Tilt' as if these were technical terms in the mezzaluna training manual!
Which of course, they now are. You can just pick up your mezzaluna and start to use it and these motions will come to you in time, but if you'd like a bit of a head start, read on…
Just like Pete did, the best way to improve your technique is to get some intensive practice and the best way to get some intensive practice is to make something really delicious that requires a fair bit of diced herbage (and some of our customers seem to have a bit of practice with the "illegal" kind of herbage in mind, but don't try telling the judge we suggested it to you as a training exercise!).
In the section below, we've included a legal product recipe that is eminently suitable - a tabouleh salad. Make this recipe and not only will you have the base for a fantastic meal, you'll be a fully qualified MINCING MACHINE.
How to Use a Mezzaluna
Lets make Tabouleh as an example
See Our Recipes page for the list of ingredients.
Use a normal knife to slice the two tomatoes in half. Scoop out the seeds and juice and put this liquid on the cracked wheat. Add just under ¼ cup of hot tap water to the wheat and tomato seeds, stir it all together and put it and the scooped out tomato halves aside.
Now for the parsley. Let's just start with 1 bunch. You can do 2 (or more) at once when you've finished the course, but it's a bit unwieldy if you're just starting out and also, if you process it in two batches, you get the chance to really perfect your technique on the second go.
Okay. Put your first bunch on the board. Using a normal knife (just this once, I promise!) cut off the dry or woody stems and also cut across the bunch 3 or 4 times - when your learning, it just helps to break the stem size down a bit so it's easier to handle.
Mezzaluna ROCK Action…
Pick up your mezzaluna with both hands. Rest the mezzaluna lightly on the pile and just do what comes naturally - 'rock' it from one side to the other over the parsley. Don't try to go fast, just concentrate on working out an efficient cutting motion. Get a feel for how far over to rock the blade. Concentrate on undoing all your previous knife training that's telling you to keep your wrists firm and to grip the blade tightly. Relax into the action and grip the handles loosely. Enjoy the lovely crunching sound.
When the pile of parsley spreads out too far, use the blade as a scraper and pull it back together.
Mezzaluna ROLL Action…
Start to direct the blade a bit - when you have the blade leaning over one way, say to the left, move your right handle away from you a little, so when you 'roll' the blade back to the right, you're cutting on a slightly different line. When you get all the way over to the right, move your left handle away from you a little and you'll be cutting on a different line again. Using this 'rolling technique', you should be able to make your way across the board and back again. Do this a few times in fairly large cutting lines (a couple of centimetres apart).
Don't concentrate on trying to 'get' individual pieces of whatever you're cutting - that'll just reduce everything else on the cutting line to mush. Instead, just think about rolling over the board evenly from the front to the back. As soon as your pile gets too spread out or extends too far out to the sides, scrape it all back to the centre. This will mix everything up and ensure you 'get' those stubborn big pieces.
After 3 or 4 passes across the board, your pile should have gone from 'twigs' to 'lawn clippings'.
Now, roll across the board a few more times, concentrating on getting your cutting lines closer together - trying to move your 'leading hand' forward about 1cm each time. When you scrape your pile back together now, try and concentrate on sort of 'throwing' the stuff that was out on the edges (and is therefore coarser in size) over the top of the stuff that's stayed in the middle and is therefore getting quite fine.
By now (8 or so passes across the board) you should be feeling really confident and have a fairly fine, even pile. Congratulations! But wait, there's more. It's time to learn to…
Mezzaluna TILT Action…
Each time you scrape your pile back together you loose momentum and break your rhythm. You can dramatically reduce the number of times you have to stop and scrape and you can actually control your pile by just 'tilting' the handles of the blade ever so slightly towards you or away from you.
If you roll out across the board (moving away from yourself), with the handles tilted towards you, the pile will move across the board too. If you then, on your last two cuts, lift the leading side of the blade up and over the pile and then roll back across the board tilting away from yourself, you'll bring the pile back with you!
Of course, when I say you're 'bringing the pile' with you, I don't mean you're bringing the same stuff. Each 'rock' will drop a new line down behind the blade, but because the blade is tilted, you're also kind of nudging the heap in front of you forward, picking up the stuff you spread out on your last crossing.
By adding diagonal cutting lines to your repertoire (rolling across the board on an angle), you can basically chase your pile around and around the board until you've turned it into dust, only stopping to scrape it into the centre when you need a rest!
Okay. Put the first lot of parsley into a bowl, take a deep breath, think about all your new knowledge and get that second bunch.
This time, to cut off the stems and break up the bunch, try grabbing the mezzaluna with just one hand, with the other handle extended out in front of you - like you're going to pass it to someone. Put the curve of the blade furtherest away from your hand on the board, have the end you're holding elevated. You're going to use the mezzaluna like a paper guillotine. Hold the parsley stems together with your free hand, place them under the guillotine and do those first couple of chops (to break it up) one-handed.
Once you've finished showing off, see if you can reduce this second bunch of parsley to fine dice in around 8 or 9 passes.
How good is that! You should now be able to cut things up AT LEAST as fast with the mezzaluna as you can with a knife and you're only going to get faster.
Oh, that's right, we weren't just doing this for fun, we need to finish the tabouleh…
Cut up the mint the same way. Personally, I don't like to eat much mint stem, so I tend to pull off most of the bottom leaves and just leave the top whole before I cut it up, but if you don't mind a bit of mint stem, just use the guillotine method.
Now for the onion.
With a normal knife, top and tail the onion, cut it in half, peel off the skin and cut each half into 3 or 4 slices. By now tears are probably forming in your eyes, but if you do the dicing with your Mezzaluna, not only will you be finished much quicker, you can nearly chop the whole lot with your eyes closed (because you have so much control) and THERE'S NO WAY YOU CAN CUT OFF YOUR FINGERS. Go on, shut your eyes and give it a go!
When you've finished processing the onions to fine dice, open your eyes and grab the tomatoes. Personally, I would probably normally just dice the tomatoes with a knife. Because of their skin consistency, they take about the same time either way, but in this practice session they will give you a bit of a work out and teach you a bit about cutting from different directions. Being quite wet, they don't respond well to the tilt method, but if you cut across the board each time from a different direction, you will get a nice fine, even dice with each little piece of tomato still a distinct unit. Make sure you place them on the board cut side up before you start.
Have a look at the cracked wheat. By now it should have absorbed all the water and be fairly soft. We're not after mush here, the lemon juice will soften it a bit more, but each grain should be fairly plump and it should be easy to fluff up with a fork.
Put the wheat into the same bowl as all your herbage and tomato and add the oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Leave the mix sit at least 15 minutes for everything to get to know one another.
CONGRATULATIONS! You're now an official graduate of the Mezzaluna School of Excellence. You've also made a good start on your graduation dinner. ENJOY!
Our Dough Cutter is a bit of a speciality item; more for pizza parlours, bakeries and (of course) the odd private customer obsessed with their dough…
Like everything else we do, it's built like a brick shithouse (or a Klingon battleaxe, if you prefer!). The normal ones you see around are only 15-20cm long and 5cm deep, but we reckon that anyone who would actually consider owning a dough cutter works with dough balls bigger than this, so our version is a lot longer and deeper.
When we took the picture above, I had just made our normal 5-6 pizza sized dough ball and you can see that (its fun, BUT) it's almost overkill to use the cutter on this sized dough ball - it's with commercial sized dough or on a batch of buns or loaves, that it really comes into its own.
Of course, we couldn't resist doing the very Pete hanger - I've got mine on a nail on the inside of my baking cupboard.
Dough Cutter Features
- Large stainless steel ring, suits a wide variety of hooks and hangers
- Oversized qwilla handle for good grip
- Food grade 1.6mm thick stainless steel plate
- Solid brass double sided knife screws - no wobbly handle or loose blade, ever
- Chamfered and sharpened working edge for easy cutting
- Pointed blade ends for dough pinking/slashing
As well as the standard size referred to here, Dough Cutters (and all other tools) can be made to your specifications AND/OR personalised with wood engraving or metal etching - see the Customise Tools page.
|Dough Cutter Standard Dimensions|
|Handle:||37cm x 32mm|
|Blade:||30cm long x 12cm deep|
|Stainless Steel Plate Thickness:||1.6mm|
|Ring:||6.5cm x 8mm|
|$ ~ Tool Prices ~ Order Online ~ Purchase Information|
Bread Knife with Built-in Slice Guide
Have you seen this type of bread knife before?
Our friend Robyn Geddes makes them and sells them at The World Famous Eumundi Markets and if you make your own bread then they're just the best thing!
The built-in slice guide is just brilliant - each and every slice you cut is suddenly perfectly even and exactly the thickness you desire, from café-thick for toasting to wafer thin for cheese tasting or anywhere in between.
The seriously intimidating looking jagged-edged blade (I'm sorry, but 'scalloped' is just too pussy a word for these!) just demolishes whatever you use it on, no matter how hot the bread is and whether it's straight from the bread-maker and really soft, or straight from the oven and really crusty, these little demons just chew through it every time. As well as being practical, I reckon they look pretty good too. The streamlined timber handle is easy to hold and is suitable for both righties and lefties.
Also, just so it looks as good as possible in your kitchen, you can choose from three different timbers - rosewood (red tones), spotted gum (dark tones) and yellow mahogany (pale tones).
Bread Knife Features
- Solid handles that are easy to hold and a choice of 3 Australian timbers (as shown on the left)
- Built in slicing guide - every slice exactly how you want it
- Serious jagged-edged stainless steel blade glides through any bread and never needs sharpening
- 25 mm stainless steel screws hold blade secure
As well as the standard size referred to here, Bread Knives (and all other tools) can be made to your specifications AND/OR personalised with wood engraving or metal etching - see the Customise Tools page.
|Bread Knife Standard Dimensions|
|$ ~ Tool Prices ~ Order Online ~ Purchase Information|
Bread Knife Care Instructions
Just like any other wood product, these bread knives are not real fond of the dishwasher, but apart from that they have no special needs and can just be wiped over or washed up like a normal knife.
Do watch out for the blades though!
Don't leave the knife soaking in the sink where someone could cut themselves by accident. Don't run a tea towel over the edge of the blade - particularly if your fingers are holding it! Never, ever dry the blade by rubbing it across your clothes! For the same reason, it's probably not a great idea to leave the blade face up in a drawer...
To maintain the lovely timber grain and colour, occasionally rub some oil over the handles.
Bread Knife Hints & Tips
This bread knife is really easy to use. There are only two things to remember:
1 - IT WILL HELP YOU SLICE STRAIGHT
Once you have positioned the blade across your loaf of bread at your desired thickness and you have assured yourself that it's straight, don't look at the bread again! Watch the space between the wooden handle and the slice and just work on not tilting the knife as you cut. As long as that space and the knife angle stay the same, you can't help but cut right.
2 - BE GENTLE
Don't try to force the knife to cut deeper or faster, you'll just squash your bread and veer off course. These blades are sharp and jagged enough to cut a brick - they don't need extra help from you. Just concentrate on watching the guide and performing the sawing motion and the actual cutting will happen almost by itself.