A decent knife is vital to any kitchen and a knife set invaluable, we check out Viners set of knives plus magnetic block

mcith_VINERS.pngLike many a keen amateur chef I have a ragbag of kitchen knives that I’ve collected over the years, most which have seen rather too much action.

My big Sabattier knife, bought in triumph when I got my first paycheck, is deeply unfashionable now and ugly too with its handle all bound up with gaffer tape. These knives are not as indestructible as the makers claim.

I treat it as one of those old friends you should have given up years ago – it can be awkward to deal witj, I can’t entirely trust it not to fall apart at crucial moments and it’s become uncomfortable, but I still keep it around.

Better is my large Global knife bought in a sudden rush of blood to the head. It was very expensive, but I had to have it. I dropped it a few years ago and the tip snapped off, I still use it, but the missing tip makes it less useful than it once was.

Then I have a range of knives, some dangerously flexible, others cheap and good for not much at all. What I needed to do was to rationalise my blade situation.

Viners have been making cutlery in Sheffield since the early 1900s and most people, I would hazard, have memories of having some Viners cutlery in their parent’s house. Today their cutlery is still excellent, I have a set, and it’s good to be buying British.

Not everyone knows Viners make kitchen knives too, but they do.

They’ve designed and developed a variety of high performance knife and knife block sets in a range of colours, textures and finishes for all kitchen styles.

We received the Titan 5 piece knife block set to try out.  It comes in two blade colours, copper and gold, with a knife’block’ that is, in fact, a large monolithic magnet.

This is an elegant solution for storage, keeping the knives sharp, but less potentially hazardous than a magnet bar on the wall, and better than a wooden block which, because you can’t see the blade, usually has me pulling out the wrong one each time I go to it.

The set contains 1 x 8″ Chef knife, 1 x 8″ Carving knife, 1 x 8″ Bread knife, 1 x 4.5″ Utility knife and  1 x 3.5″ Paring knife.All very useful, although perhaps the bread knife is an unusual addition.

Each blade has a durable titanium coating in copper colour and the taper ground blades are made from high quality stainless steel creating a harder blade that is claimed will maintain its sharp cutting edge, The knives themselves are guaranteed for 10 years.

I liked the handles straightaway, which have a rather Japanese style to them.  Not so much Kill Bill as Kill Brill, if you like your fish.

The handles are soft and cushiony and your hand grips them naturally and comfortably. Long sessions chopping or paring seem much easier now than with my old solid handled knives and I find I drop or fumble the knives less. Even a light grip keeps the knife safely in play.

And they are sharp, very sharp, so it’s good that the blades are stiff. A sharp blade that flexes is a guarantee of a trip to A&E sooner rather than later.

The 8 inch chef knife is the workhorse, the knife you’ll turn to for most jobs. The paring knife is excellent for fiddly jobs and the utility knife is generally handy.

The bread knife was actually very good at tackling both hard sourdough crusts and creating precision sandwich slices of equal thickness. The carving knife I didn’t get around to trying as we’re not eating meat this month, but it seemed a sturdy tool.

The knives look very smart on their block, the jet black setting off the copper very nicely, and they snap onto the block reassuringly solidly and firmly, but also come off without a struggle. Needless to say, you should keep the loaded block well out of children’s reach.

If you’re in the market for a knife set and want something that stands out from the crowd in your designer kitchen, the Viner Titan set is, wait for it, a real cut above.

Comes in an attractive gift box. Ten year guarantee.

Around £84 from Viners.

See the whole Viners kitchen knife range on the Viners website