I found out today that mezzaluna means half moon in Italian, which makes me happy, because the first time I ever used one of those crescent shaped chopping tools was in a kitchen in Tuscany. It was June of 2013, less than two months before my wedding day. For seven days, I shared an 18th century villa in the tiny village of Monterchi with 9 other women, most of them friends of my friend, Nicol, who had brought us all together for this once in a lifetime trip.
We had arranged for a cooking class from a native Tuscan chef named Giuseppina, who drove to Monterchi from her village, along with two assistants. They were going to teach us how to prepare a traditional Tuscan meal of chicken with sage, garlic and vegetables, home made pasta and tiramisu.
There was fresh sage, carrots, potatoes and zucchini to be chopped (all from Giuseppina’s farm) and garlic to be minced. I love garlic but have always had trouble with mincing, it’s so tedious and time consuming. Chopping can be too, as anyone who’s ever attempted a recipe with vegetables knows. So when Giuseppina brought out the double handled mezzaluna and asked for a volunteer to get the chopping and mincing going, I was eager to try. Williams-Sonoma has one similar to Giuseppina’s, check it out here: Double Mezzaluna | Williams-Sonoma.
To use it, you rock the curved blade in a back and forth motion across the cutting board. With the large double handled one, the motion feels almost like moving your hands back and forth on a steering wheel. I couldn’t believe how fast and easy it was to chop those vegetables and mince those cloves – even after a couple of glasses of chianti!
Once back home, of course I added a mezzaluna to my wedding gift registry. And yay! Our friends Karen and Matt got it for us! I use it all the time and I love it! Ours isn’t a large, double one, but this compact, stainless steel one from Bed Bath and Beyond:
Fits easily in the top shelf of the dishwasher and in the utensil drawer. Now I don’t dread chopping up anything, nuts, herbs, vegetables, whatever! And mincing garlic is a breeze. While browsing mezzlunas online I read one description that claimed they can chop 2-3 times more per stroke than a conventional knife! Believe it!