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I’d love to tell you that my favorite type of kitchen gear is something off the beaten path — that I can’t get enough Australian bread baskets, or that I recently began churning my own butter to better connect with the land — but if I’m being honest, my favorite thing to test, review, and collect in the kitchen are knives. Though I recently found one knife block that I think (actually) deserves a spot on your counter, I’ve always suggested that new home cooks or people moving into their first homes pick up a basic, no-frills knife set. Specifically, one that includes the three knives you’ll be using the most in your day-to-day cooking: a serrated bread knife, a paring knife, and a chef’s knife of some sort. 

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Now, I know that it’s a bit of a splurge (though they’re currently over 40 percent off), but this is, essentially, the perfect set of knives. First off, the pictures don’t do the blades justice at all — the unique, naturally formed pattern on the steel oozes elegance and quality, and the gorgeous, olive-green handles match pretty much everything (including Dakota Johnson’s kitchen, which broke the internet). The set includes an 8-inch chef’s knife, an 8-inch serrated bread knife, a 7-inch santoku knife, a 5-inch utility knife, a 3.5-inch paring knife, a 9-inch honing steel, and last but not least, a magnetic walnut knife block. The knives themselves are incredible — unsurprising, considering the brand — and I love the length of the handles, the sharpness, and the selection in the set. 

While all of the knives feel great in your hand, my favorite piece — which I was surprised by — was the 5-inch utility knife. When I got it, I wasn’t sure I’d use it too much, but I’ve since found that it functions perfectly as a blade for cutting citrus, as a boning knife, and a tool for pretty much every kitchen task that requires something heftier than a paring knife but smaller than a chef’s knife. (It’s also great for people with small hands, per my girlfriend.) Each of the blades is forged from 67 layers of Japanese Damascus steel, which means they’ll hold an edge for a long time — aka, you don’t have to sharpen them as much, especially if you use the included honing steel. 

However, while the knives are awesome, the thing I can’t stop raving about is the block, or rather the sleek, magnetic wall of knives that sits on my countertop. I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical at first, since I’ve always been a knife strip fan, but this thing rocks. It’s actually more space-saving than a knife strip, because both sides are available, and it’s more versatile in my apartment, since one of my walls is exposed brick, and I can’t attach a strip to it. Plus, since it’s freestanding, you can move the whole thing around your kitchen whenever you want. And, the included knives only take up one side of the block, which means the other side is free for knives you already own, which creates space in your drawers. The exposed knife block also prevents moisture buildup and dulling — two issues with traditional knife blocks. (And, you get to show off all your sweet blades.) 

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