Ceramic is the new material taking center stage in the cookware world. We recently tested both ceramic-coated fry pans and ceramic-coated baking sheets and loved their ease of release, even with the stickiest foods. Now, United Kingdom’s Edge of Belgravia, makers of innovative knives, has come out with a line of ceramic knives with the same easy release that literally makes them slide through foods. And their bold new design makes these knives both beautiful and highly functional.
If you aren’t familiar with ceramic cookware, you might be thinking, “Ceramic are you kidding?” But ceramic is particularly suited for knife making (and other cookware applications). Ceramic blades are second to diamonds in hardness. Edge of Belgravia ceramic blades are made of zirconium oxide (also used in jet engines and space shuttles due to its hardness). The material is sintered in an oven at 1300°C (which causes the zirconium oxide to coalesce into a solid mass) and forged under 300 tons of pressure, giving the blades both durability and diamond hardness.
While ceramic means the blades stay sharp for years without sharpening, ceramic is inherently brittle and requires care. These are knives made for slicing and dicing, not for cutting through bones, frozen foods, or hard produce. They must be hand washed and should be stored properly in a wooden block or other place where they’re protected. They also shouldn’t be sharpened with a standard sharpener. Over time, miniscule abrasions or chipping may occur, but the manufacturer insists this normal wear won’t reduce the superb sharpness of the blade.
Super Blades, Cool Functional Design
Edge of Belgravia’s ceramic knife series consists of five knives: paring, utility, santoku, chef’s and slicer. The blades are a sleek black and the comfortable rubberized handles come in matte black or lime green.
Edge of Belgravia is proud of their uber-cool design and it’s easy to see why. The knives were created by contemporary London based designer, Christian Bird, and they are stunning. In the 2012, Edge of Belgravia was recognized at the D&AD product design awards, where their knife design was a runner up along with Apple’s IPAD 2. While I prefer the look of the matte black handle with the black blade; those who favor a less traditional look might prefer the bright lime green handle.
We tested the chef’s knife ($108.16 USD/ £69.90) and the santoku ($77.21 USD/ £49.90). They were part of a limited edition production of 1,400 knives (each is numbered).
The ceramic blades of both knives easily cut through foods. The ceramic surface, in fact, seemed to slide through the tough skin of grapefruit and beef much easier than my traditional metal knives. In fact, the ceramic blades are quite multi-functional. Recently, I used the chef’s knife to slice some crusty artisan French bread, thin cut some fresh tomatoes, and slice through some soft Gouda cheese for a sandwich. I didn’t need to get out a bread knife for the bread, a serrated knife for the tomatoes, and a cheese knife for the soft cheese. The Belgravia ceramic knife performed equally well on each food.
The rubberized matte handles have a pleasantly soft hand and feature an unusual cut out where the first finger rests, making it not only look cool and contemporary, but also making it easier to grasp than traditional handles. For everyday prep, the santoku is my favorite knife and I especially liked the ease of use of the chunky Edge of Belgravia santoku. It fit snuggly in my hand and was easy to control. The blade’s sharp edge and good balance made slicing, dicing, and mincing quick work.
I also appreciate the lightness of these Edge of Belgravia ceramic knives. Too often, after long days in our test kitchen, I find heavy steel knives cumbersome. No so these light, yet sturdy ceramic knives. The sharp edge, comfortable ergonomic handle, good balance and light weight allows you to work in the kitchen for hours without fatigue. And, not least of all, you’ll look great doing it!
While the Edge of Belgravia is located in London, they have warehouses in the U.S. and can ship anywhere in the country in two days.– Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor
Editor’s Update: I’ve fallen in love with Edge of Belgravia knives the more I use them. However, the literature warns about ceramic knives being brittle and that they shouldn’t be used on hard foods. I learned that the other day when without thinking I grabbed the 6″ santoku (my favorite) and sliced through a piece of Parmesan cheese. Later, when I went to wash the knife, I found that a piece of the blade had broken off, rendering the knife unusable. Alas, I’ll pay more attention next time and not use my Edge of Belgravia knives on anything hard. —BH, RFT Editor