wusthof knives

Proper knives like these Wusthof heavies will make cocktail hour feel luxe. (photo courtesy of the brand)

So we’ve been having cocktail hour. Every night. A little ceremony to look forward to near the end of another day. A bit of deliberate mise en place with the citrus and the ice and the tumblers. The corkscrew carefully aligned alongside the bottle (we’ve gone through a great deal of the good stuff already, I confess) and the glasses buffed a little.

And in our house, this moment also means snacks.

We don’t at all mind a tub of Alouette, and a brick of Cracker Barrel cheddar met its maker last week. But truth be told we’ve taken the game up a notch. We buy the best cheeses we can find, price be damned, and the best charcuterie.

The whole thing has felt further elevated, of late, by the arrival of the Wüsthof Three-Piece Plum Handle Charcuterie Set—a name almost as long in English as it is in its original German. The group is a 5-inch sausage knife (also terrific for use with baguettes), a 5-inch soft-cheese knife (the holes in the blade are designed to keep the cheese from sticking, and it sort of works), and a 4-inch paté spreader. Their full tang design gives them a pleasant heft in the hand (the handles run 4 1/2 inches), and if I keep them out of the dishwasher, I suspect I won’t ever need to purchase their like again. I have others, but none so sturdy.

Wüsthof is one of those brands I remember from my boyhood. They were the “good knives” I wasn’t supposed to touch in the kitchen, on those occasions I wandered in, looking to trim some leather on a baseball glove.  You won’t be surprised to learn that the company, still family owned, predates me; it launched in Solingen, Germany, in 1814, and still hand-finishes its products there. Having these tools active for an hour or so each evening feels a little luxurious, which feels especially great these days. I can’t wait to show them off to company, whenever we have that again.

Williams Sonoma offers them for just under $100—a bit of a splurge but, you know, it’s not the end of the world.