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Panorama Knife Best of Switzerland Universal Knife

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo:   Panorama Knife Best of Switzerland Universal Knife knife/tool

A Swiss-made, stylish, and very sharp knife that's small and light enough for the pack but cuts bread, cheese, and sausage with ease.

Pros

  • Mountains!
  • Very sharp surgical steel blade
  • Walnut handle
  • Top craftsmanship

Cons

  • Doesn't come with a sheath

During the 20+ years that I have spent living in Norway, with occasional forays to “The Continent” (mainly the Alps), it gradually dawned on me that the real heart of European food culture consists of three items: bread, cheese, and sausage (and, well, wine of course, but I’m a teetotaler). All three require a good knife for proper European consumption. This knife slices all three in style.

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Charcuterie in Haute-Savoie

Recently, a Swiss trio, including Matthias, whom we met and spent a few days with during our hike on the Hornstrandir Peninsula, dropped in for a couple of nights on their way to and from a ski crossing of the nearby Dovrefjell Mountains. By way of thanks for our hospitality, they gave us a couple big bars of Toblerone chocolate and a Panorama Knife. In its sparsely labeled box it looks like a souvenir you’d pick up at the duty-free shop on your way back home. I should have known better—after all, it’s Swiss made!*

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In the box

The basic idea is touristy enough – a knife with serrations in the shapes of a selection of Switzerland’s many charismatic peaks, including legends like the Eiger, Jungfrau, and Matterhorn, laser-engraved with the names and elevations.

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Knife edge ridges

But this knife is as meticulously crafted as a Swiss watch, and a pleasure to own and use. The high carbon surgical steel blades (surgical steel material number 1.4116, material designation AISI 440A, Rockwell hardness 54-55 HRC, to be more specific) are made by the Pomoni family in Premana, near the Swiss border in northern Italy. The walnut handle is added and the finish work is done by hand at another family-run shop in the Italian part of Switzerland.

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Legendary peaks

And it’s almost dangerously sharp -- cuts cheese and sausage like butter and bread like cotton candy.

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The Universal Knife is an all-rounder, equally good at cutting bread, cheese, and sausage. While it’s not a full-length bread knife, the 15 cm (5.9 in) blade is long and sharp enough for slicing up my wife’s big sourdough loaves with a tough outer crust. The small-ish size is part of the appeal to me. I don’t have much use for a knife like this on a straight-ahead backpacking trip, but I could see bringing it along on a hut-to-hut excursion (the knives provided in self-service hut kitchens are always seriously dull) or a canoe trip where fresh fish is on the menu. With an overall length of 25.9 cm (10.2 in) and weight of 53 g (1.9 oz), it’s eminently packable.

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The slightly curved, walnut handle is a comfortable fit even in my XL hands. It doesn’t come with a sheath, but Panorama Knife will happily add in a magnetic walnut knife protector for a Swiss-quality price. For an additional fee, the blade can be laser engraved with a name or maybe a few choice words.

The Panorama Knife company offers a long lineup of other knives, ranging from steak knives to bread knives and a variety of folding knives, and some cutting board and other wooden products to go along with the knives.  And the Best of Switzerland is only one of a long list a of mountain panoramas available for the sharp edge, including not only various Swiss skylines but many from selected mountain ranges elsewhere in this world (and out of it – Best of Mars is also an option), but many of these don’t seem to be currently available.

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The other side of the blade
*And comes at a Swiss price. Ordering one online will set you back about $70.

 

Background

I won't claim to be a knife connoisseur, but I've owned and used a lifetime assortment of Swiss Army, Buck, multitool, and kitchen knives, enough to appreciate a sharp knife that suits its purpose when in my hand. I've only had this one for a few weeks, but I've been using it daily and am already fond of it.

Source: received it as a personal gift

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