Thinking of the knife in your back pocket as a best friend might be a little over the top, but if you’ve ever owned a Saladini knife, that’s likely exactly how you feel. My newest pocket knife comes from these famed Italian knife makers and I cannot sing its praises enough.
Coltelleria Saladini is based in Scarperia, situated just north of Florence. It is an ancient, medieval village that was built by the Florentine Republic in the 14th century. Known as “the town of knives,” it has a long knife-making tradition, dating back to when it was first settled. All of their knives are made by hand, one by one, with high quality stainless steel and amazing ox horn, buffalo horn or Tuscan olive wood handles. We place orders for their knives three times a year and stock several different sizes and models, including a variety of folding knives, cheese knives, cigar cutters, bread knives, steak knives, forks, spoons, etc. The style of knife that I chose is called Mozzetta.
A Mozzetta has a traditional blunt blade that harks back to a time in Italy when knives with pointed blades were outlawed, or at least strictly controlled, and this style became the only legal option. In addition to referring to a particular knife style, the word “mozzetta” can also refer to a short cloak worn by clergy of the Catholic faith. What the two things – a knife and a cloak – have in common is the fact that they are cropped. The Italian verb “mozzare” translates into English as “to crop” or “to cut off.”
I have gone through a fair share of cheese knives over my years here as a cheesemonger. The Laguiole I had was great. The knife even had a pouch that attached to my belt – yes, kind of a pocket protector for my knife. I lost that one and bought the simpler Couteau des Sorgues, which was gracefully taken by a colleague, by virtue of squatters rights. I’m not too heartbroken about that though – without a pocket protector, it was perpetually tearing the back pockets of my jeans.
After the Couteau, I went to the ol’ favorite: Opinel. Opinels are sturdy with a carbon steel blade that is super sharp and very easy to touch up. It’s a knife that’s hard to beat, unless you lose it, which I did. Without a pocket knife, I was going crazy. Cheese planers were just not cutting it – literally and figuratively. After selling Saladini knives for years, I finally took a closer look at them to see if one might be up to the challenge. This is how I found my new best friend.
His name is Pepe. He is a good sized knife when open and compact when folded. His blade is shining stainless steel with a stubby end and some great detailing on the spine. His handle is gorgeous – made from ox horn, beige, caramel, unicorn white and a little bit of dark brown, a combo that gives this guy all the looks.
I encourage you to stop by the shop and check out the family of Saladini knives. My next purchase is a toss-up between the Saladini steak knife set and the bread knife.
For more about the producer of this knife, check out this blog post which explains how we first found out about Coltelleria Saladini.
And, if you are ever interested in placing a special order for a Saladini item we don’t have on hand, please do not hesitate to e-mail our buyer, Tim at: email@example.com.
Kurt Gurdal is the General Manager and lead cheese buyer at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.