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Mezzaluna Knife are very unique knives. It is a curved blade with two handles on either side. To chop, you rock it back and forth, letting you cut and mince food in rapid succession. Most people see these knives used in pizza shop, where the pizza maker will cut the pizza in different slices. However, at home kitchen and more commonly in Italian Kitchen, these knives are used to chop herbs. You will usually see a specialized Mezzaluna cutting board paired with the knife as well.
How to use a Mezzaluna Knife
Using a Mezzaluna knife is probably one of the funnest way to chop thing. You grab either end of the knife and start rocking it back and forth. While you may be tempted to go as fast as possible, you might lose control doing so. I recommend that you start off slow and maintain control. As you get faster and more experience, you can increase your speed.
Most people will use a standard cutting board to use the knife with. However, there are special Mezzaluna Board that has a indentation designed for these knife. They keep all the herbs and food contained so it doesnt get anywhere and you can press the blade straight down. Although in my experience, I cant rock it anywhere as fast as a flat board. Another issue that I found is that not all board will fit the curvature of the board. Its best to get a smaller Mezzaluna relative to the board.
How Many Blades
Since a Mezzaluna Knife is typically used to chop herb, speed is of the essence. To combat those who question why not use the knife, manufacturer has place addiditional blades on it. Now you can chop at 2 or even 3 times the speed. And thats all it really is, a way to chop faster.
There are downsides to the additional blade though. By buying Mezzaluna with two or even 3 blades, you are limited to only cutting herbs. Things like meats or harder vegetables are not suitable. The other blades get in the way and you also have to increase overall pressure to cut things.
Sharpening is another issue when using the multi blade design. Its really difficult to use a whetstone in these multi blade design. Once it gets dull, you either replace to send it into a specialty shop to sharpen it.
ULU Knife vs Mezzaluna Knife vs Chef Knife
In Alaska, the Ulu knives are used for a wide variety of cutting task from meat to skinning animals. Unlike the Mezzaluna knife, the Ulu knife has only one handle. I would argue that because of this, it is more utilitarian than its European cousin. You have more control when you slice and chop and it only requires one hand. The downside is that you cannot rock as quickly.
One interesting to note is that on Ulu knives, they usually used exotic material as the handle. Its common to find it made out of antlers of hunted caribou. You can find some older models made out of ivory.
In terms of the blade, they are not as well made as the German variety. While they do work, they tend to dull faster. It really depends on which manufacturer you buy it from.
A standard chef knife are the most useful overall. You can chop, carve and cut anything you will with a Mezzaluna Knife. The main advantage of a Mezzaluna or a Ulu knife is speed and the fun factor.
Is a Mezzaluna or Ulu Cutting Board Necessary?
Yes and No, it really depends on you. As stated before, I find that a rock chop on a flat surface to be quicker. But if you find that herbs to be flying everywhere, it might be necessary. These type of cutting board really shine when you start creating sauces where liquid is essential. The board will act as a well keeping everything contain.
For a Ulu Knife, I find it beneficial using the concave board as a rock cut is not as common. Since you can utilize more of the blade when pushing down, you get quicker results.
Best Mezzaluna and Ulu Knife List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Mezzaluna on the market. There are a few different variation, some have single and other have double handle. The single handle version are more like Ulu knives and more useful in general. Just not as fast as rock chopping herb.
Wusthof 9″ Mincing Knife (Best Overall)
While there are many models on the market, none of them beat the quality of German Steel. Wusthof make some of the Best German knife on the market. Their steel strikes the balance of hardness and durability. They will hold a edge better than most of the other manufacturer.
HIC’s Mezzaluna Rocking Vegetable Chopper and Mincing Knife (Best Buy)
While Wusthof is one of the best on the market, the price is also quite high. If you just want to try it out and get start, HIC makes a good alternative. Its affordable and one of the highest rated model on Amazon. It uses two wooden handle so its unlikely to slip like a metal handle.
Alaskan Ulu, Legendary Knife of the Arctic (Best Traditional Ulu Knife)
For a more traditional Ulu knife, these knives are made in Alaska using real moose antler. The blade holds an edge and its made right in the USA. Nothing gets more traditional than a Ulu knife with real antler horns.
Amco Stainless Steel Mezzaluna with Silicone Handle (Best Buy Ulu Knife)
While traditional Ulu knives are cool to have, they can be expensive. Amco is a good alternative. Their product can be found in a lot of commercial kitchen so durability and usability is not a question at all. The silicone handle is non slip and helps you hold a good grip. You can also toss it in a dishwasher as well. Best of all, its affordable.
Checkered Chef Mezzaluna Chopper (Best Double Blade Model)
Since these double bladed Mezzaluna are hard to sharpen, its best to buy affordable models. This way when the blades dull, you can replace it easily. This version is all steel so its unlikely to break or crack. However, its only has one handle. Be sure you are ok with that.
Best Mezzaluna and Ulu Cutting Board
Mezzaluna and Ulu knives are best enjoy using cutting boards designed to be used with them. There are a lot on the market, ranging form cheap to expensive. Unfortunately, the best is also quite pricey.
John Boos Block HB13-R-G Round (Best Overall)
John Boos is one of America’s largest manufacturer of cutting board. Their products are known to be the best in the industry, and this model is no different. The curve and the wood is soft on the blade and will keep it sharp for long. The best thing about this model is that it is reversible. In case you want a flat surface, all you need to do is flip it around.
New Alaska Ulu Chopping Bowl Board (Best Buy)
For a cheaper alternative, this Alaskan made Ulu Cutting board is a good alternative. The wood used is soft on blades are great for your ulu knife. You can flip it over and use it as a chopping board as well.
The Herb Chopper Thoughts
These knives are great for chopping herbs. But really, its just fun to use. Rocking it back and forth brings out the kid in you. There are two variety to look for, the dual handle and the single handle ulu model. If you want to mainly rock chop herb, get the dual handle one. For more of a utilitarian one, the single handle ulu are great. If you need a chopping board as well, Boos make a great option.
Looking for a Knife? Check out our article on the Best Kitchen Knife Brand.