When shopping for a good set of kitchen cutlery, it's important to know the differences between the various sets of knives offered by each manufacturer. There are a couple of Calphalon knife block sets you may come across when looking into the best sets on the market. While both are of good quality, there are a few things you should know before making a decision as to which one to buy.
The Contemporary series of knives is a good quality set that comes in at just under 200 dollars for a good-sized set of 17 pieces. This set includes kitchen shears, a bamboo block and a sharpening stone. You get decent quality German steel, which is capable of holding an edge and is fairly easy to sharpen. The blades are very sharp, and they are resistant to stains and discoloration. The name of each type of blade is etched into the end of the handle so you know exactly which piece you're pulling out.
The Katana series is significantly more expensive, with a 14-piece Calphalon knife block set running close to $350. You get shears and a sharpening stone with this set as well. Instead of using German steel, the blades are crafted from 33 layers of VG-1 Japanese steel in a manner similar to how the ancient Japanese samurai made their swords. This gives them a unique look, and makes them razor-sharp and extremely rust resistant. The Japanese steel used is known for its strength and rigidity, and it has excellent edge retention. As with all cutlery, the edges will need to be sharpened periodically, but there will be a much larger gap between sharpenings than there are with normal blades.
OK, here's the question you're probably dying to have answered…Is the difference between the two sets enough to justify spending the extra money on the more expensive set? The answer is a resounding…maybe. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen and would truly appreciate the precise cuts and the fine balance of the Katana series, then by all means it's the better choice. You definitely won't regret going with the more expensive option. They look nicer and cut better, albeit marginally. The Japanese steel used is widely considered to be at the top of the heap when it comes to quality and durability, and you can rest assured you're buying quality.
On the other hand, if you're going to have to break the bank to buy the more expensive set, you may be better off going with the less expensive set. You will save money and still get a good Calphalon knife block set. Don't worry about the fact you're not getting the Japanese steel, as German steel is almost as good. Contemporary cutlery will still last you a long time, and the blades are balanced nicely and make smooth cuts. They may not be as refined as their more expensive brothers, but they are still of very high quality. You owe it to yourself to check both of these sets out the next time you're looking to add a new tool to the kitchen.