Born in Rome and raised in Southern California, Giada de Lauarentiis knows how to cook. Her flair with Italian and everyday cuisine extends far and wide, from the television screen to her wonderfully written cookbooks. Along the way, she has also become somewhat of a role model, a sexy mother and wife who knows how to whip up satisfying dishes for friends and family in a seemingly effortless way. However, Giada has many secrets to her success, not the least of which is her cook’s tool chest.

Accordingly, chefs the world over would probably agree that one of their most essential and important tools is a knife, the right kind, sharp and ready, for each precise job. Chefs and their knives are so inseparable in the kitchen, in fact, that many consider cooking without proper knives nothing more than an amateur endeavor. Thus, it is not surprising that in their and Giada’s arsenal of tools is a very special one indeed, the mezzaluna knife.

mezzaluna knife

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A mezzaluna knife is hardly a household word, but once familiar with using this unusually named kitchen tool, it is one likely to become essential.  In Italian, mezzaluna means half moon, an apt enough description for its crescent-shaped blade.  It is sometimes referred to by English-speaking cooks as a crescent knife. Nonetheless, the design, not the name, is most important to its uniqueness and function. The blade is long and sharpened from end to end, thus its curvature enables one to rock it from side to side and get a clean, precise cut. The rocking motion makes it especially appropriate for chopping, cutting, and mincing foods, otherwise tedious preparation tasks.

While one type of mezzaluna knife is designed with a handle, usually of wood, ceramic, or plastic, extended above the blade, sometimes double, or with a raised handle on either end for control, the Giada mezzaluna does not. Forged from steel, the handle is traditionally attached at the end of the blade, which is high carbon stainless steel.   The entire knife is about 14 inches in length, end to end, allowing it to chop and cut quite effectively. Also, the back of the blade has a thickened design, which makes a good leveraging point, especially important for someone with a small hand. Its cost, a little more than $20, is another great feature of this particular knife, one that Giada has called her favorite gadget of all.

Giada De Laurentiis Mezzaluna Knife“The Giada De Laurentiis Mezzaluna Knife makes kitchen prep an enjoyable task for even the most amateur of chefs.”

Mezzaluna knives are very popular in Europe, thus if not accustomed to one at home while growing up, it might take some practice to get adept at its use.  Chopping and dicing some carrots or celery first will assist in getting the hang of it and assure more success when actually preparing a major meal.  Any effort expended on mastering this newly acquired skill will pay off in saved time, also nice, neat cubes and dices, minus the usual struggle to achieve clean-looking cuts.

Before Giada began promoting her new line of knives at target she used this Global chef knife exclusively.

Available, too, for some knife models are special cutting boards that have small depressions in them to follow the contour of the mezzaluna  blade. They are well suited for the knife’s usage for such practical tasks as mincing garlic and herbs and chopping vegetables, such as tomatoes, for sauces and soups. Also, a mezzaluna knife doubles as a pastry knife for chopping shortening that has been added to flour for dough making. Thus it is easy to imagine how the mezzaluna knife, with its curvature, soon becomes the knife of choice for many as they apply it to more and more tasks instead of using the usual straight-bladed knife.

There are several brands and varieties of mezzaluna knives on the market, however the same basic features should be taken into consideration when perusing them. These include the quality of blade construction, solidly forged from metal that is good quality. Also, any pits or holes where the blade and handle join are not advisable, as they welcome food accumulation and bacteria.

A mezzaluna knife, further, should not be placed in the dishwasher, but hand washed instead. It should not be left to dry on its own but, rather, dried immediately after washing to prevent rust. While the Giada brand of mezzaluna knife does not come with a sheath, it is easy enough to wrap it in a piece of thick canvas or other such material when storing. Doing so protects the blade, keeping it sharper longer, and it also prevents injuries to hands thrust into drawers where exposed knives often cause damage.

To conclude, for anyone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen like Giada De Laurentiis, or even much less, it is clear that her favorite gadget, the Giada De Laurentiis mezzaluna knife would soon win over most any chef. It represents, too, a change from the usual boring task at hand when it comes to fruits and vegetables, especially, as they succumb to the deft strokes of a mezzaluna knife deftly wielded.