Gadgets: Fine Edge Pro Knives by J.A. Henckels
If you've suddenly found yourself with a new knife block with space to fill, consider this: J.A. Henckels' Fine Edge Pro Knives are almost a quarter the price of the classic collection. So what's the difference? The Fine Edge Pro Knives are made in a different way: They're stamped rather than forged, which is generally a much less expensive manufacturing technique. Here's the more important question: Does it matter?
At the end of the day, it's up to you. But seeing that that's not very helpful advice, I'll throw you a bone or two. The Fine Edge Pro knives are very much true to their name—the edge is extremely sharp and fine, which makes the 3" paring knife ($7.99 at kitchencollection.com) extremely versatile in particular. The 5" santoku ($10.99 at amazon.com), the other Fine Edge Pro I recently purchased, hung next to its near-identical big brother in the store (which incidentally cost $44), but I soon realized it so closely approximated my ideal that the $32 difference would have been a pity to spend. Try it while trimming chicken—the smooth balance and precise blade make it a real breeze.
Getting back to the stamped vs. forged argument, though, the Fine Edge Pro knives are very lightweight, which is where personal preference comes into play. I've shown my bias for light knives in the past, and those who are with me will trust that there's serious money to be saved by choosing these stamped blades as opposed to their heavier, sturdier (equally sharp) relatives.
What's your preference? Do you feel more comfortable with knives that have some heft to them, or do you breeze through your mise en place with a lighter slicer?