I’m serious about good quality kitchen knives.  Quality, SHARP knives of lasting value are what impress me. After many months of personal evaluation since last year’s International Housewares Show, I am ready to tell you about a brand I had not previously heard about. Now, I am a pleased to report that I am impressed.  The brand is Mundial.

Let’s start with some basics.  Quality knives are manufactured from a single piece of stainless or high carbon steel from the tip to the back of the handle.  With either material, there will not be rust or discoloration.

My own criteria for determining the worth of kitchen knives are simple.  Can the knife be sharpened to a razor’s edge?  How long does the edge last before resharpening is required?  How easy is it to sharpen?  How does the knife feel when in use – is it a good, balanced feel?

I also know a thing or three about knife care. That is, the edge on any knife requires upkeep. The knife must be used and handled with care.  Ideally, it is super-sharp and should only be used on an appropriate cutting surface that will not be damaged nor dull the edge, such as a wooden or plastic cutting board, and never directly on a counter top of tile or stone of any kind.  The knife should be hand washed and not placed in the dishwasher (unless the maker specifies the handle is dishwasher safe. With proper, basic care, the entire set should literally last a lifetime and qualify for passing down through generations.  So, quality cutlery is really an investment.

I’ll get into care and maintenance a bit later.  For now, though, my Mundial story.

I first learned of the Mundial brand at last year’s Housewares Show in Chicago.    I was, at first, attracted by the visual appeal and then I visited with the company representatives and learned the rest of their story.

The brand has been around for a very long time, some 70 years, and they have made quality cutlery for some of the popular, famous brands for much of that time.  And those other brands are quite expensive.  I’ve tested many of them.

So, after looking at their line, I asked to try some of their knives, choosing what I wanted. The best test would be to replace what I already have and love in my own kitchen with Mundial knives I would use in their place. I already have a feel for the ease of use, quality and performance of my heretofore-previous favorites. I know how well they sharpen, how well they hold an edge and how they feel when I use them. I truly enjoy being in the kitchen!  Learn about the quality behind each Mundial knife.

I started by considering my favorite, everyday workhorse knife styles (and what I recommend to you for your kitchen).  Basics include a 10-inch and six-inch Chef’s Knife, a seven-inch Santoku knife, a long, thin serrated knife of about eight-inches for cutting bread, even tomatoes and soft fruit, a boning or fillet knife, a six-inch utility (for veggies) and a four-inch paring knife.  I recommend storing your investment in wood blocks, blade up.  In addition to the basics, you may also wish to consider a set of quality steak knives. There’s nothing like them for use with a great steak for yourself and your guests!

When available, I like a Granton edge, one with little oval “dents” above the edge. These little oval cutouts help reduce drag when cutting through soft foods and also help the knife to release and not stick to what is being cut.

I chose the 5100 series in red.  From their individual knife collection, I tried four of the styles pictured above.

Yes, you can find sharp knives that are cheap. I’ve tried many of them. They also feel cheap and what the user finds is that, in short order, using one of these knives requires lots of effort because they do not hold an edge.  A dull knife is useless for cutting and dangerous to use, often slipping off the target and into your flesh.  DO NOT DO THIS!

Many cheap knifes rely on serrated blades with an edge of repeated scalloped cutout patterns from tip to handle. These knives are usually very lightweight and do not feel substantial in the hand. Plus, they are usually not the most comfortable to use. They cut by using a saw-like process, which, when they are new, can still slice tomatoes wafer thin.

Ah, but over time, these knives become dull and are not so easily sharpened.  Still, a quality, straight and long serrated edge is the preferred style for a bread knife.

My experience with Mundial has made me a fan.  They have a substantial feel of quality and balance, and they pass the sharpness and sharpening test. However, as received, none were ready to go. All had edges in need of service, which, for me, is no trouble at all, which brings me to the issue of maintenance, including sharpening.

The ONLY sharpening system I use and recommend is from Edgecraft, also an excellent source of high quality US-made knives.  Edgecraft’s Chef’s Choice sharpeners are simply the best and easiest, mistake-proof sharpeners available.

Their Model 130 (about $140) is the optimal product and their Model 120 (about $130) is the minimal system you need. Using diamonds to do the job, knives are preserved and protected from damage, and the three stages provide a perfect edge.  All you do is pull the knives through each stage as needed. I’ve simplified the instruction, but not by much. You just can’t screw up and your knives come out shaving sharp. Once you’ve used a knife sharpened by your Chef’s Choice, you’ll immediately appreciate the experience and “get it.”

Don’t use a long, round “steel.”  Never use the kind of sharpener with twin opposing circular discs through which you drag the blade as it cuts off metal and leaves the edge a jagged mess. Never, ever use a grinding wheel. In short, the only way to get the consistent angled edge with precision is with the Chef’s Choice product.

Once I applied the perfect Chef’s Choice edge to my testers from Mundial, I set out to try them side by side against my prized Edgecraft knives over several months. I have a feeling for the job the Edgecraft knives do and how long they hold their edge.

After extensive side-by-side experience that took much longer than anticipated, I have concluded that Mundial represents real value. True, they all feel very good, sharpen well and hold a fine edge, maybe not quite as long as the Edgecraft knives, but very close. I was surprised.  And, at a price much less, Mundial represents, I believe, outstanding, uncompromising value. Shop for them and you’ll be amazed at the prices for Mundial, and then, you’ll buy them.  Where?  Start HERE.

Visit the website, explore the types and styles, including their knife storage products.  Give them a try, and you’ll be hooked.

Please, above all, be sure to care for your investment.  Keep them clean and sharp, and protected in storage.

Great job, Mundial!

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