|Photo courtesy of Microplane|
Although I had a box grater that I used fairly often, I was happy to get a chance to upgrade to the Microplane Elite Box Grater. It's a four-sided grater with five cutting surfaces.
What sorcery is that? you ask.
Well, one of the large sides has two different grating surfaces, which makes a whole lot of sense. Much of the time when I'm grating cheese, I'm only grating a small surface area of the cheese and only using a small swath on the grater. The harder the cheese and the finer the shreds I want, the smaller surface area I tend to grate.
So dividing one of the large grating surfaces into two types of grating (fine and coarse) makes perfect sense.
The ultra-coarse grating surface takes up the other large side of the grater, which also makes sense. When I'm coarsely grating softer cheeses, I tend to use a wider swath of the grater surface. The two smaller sides of the grater are the ribbon and shaver surfaces.
The grater also has a removable sliding bottom piece that holds the grated product inside the grater. Honestly, this might be my favorite feature. If I'm grating a small, unmeasured amount of something, I'm fine with using a paddle grater right over the plate, pot, or bowl. But when I'm grating a larger quantity or I'm grating ahead of time, I set my box grater on a cutting board or in a shallow bowl and I grate. Then I've got a bowl full of cheese or big pile of cheese taking up space on a cutting board.
Not with this grater. The cheese is contained inside the grater. A tiny bit of cheese does shave off outside the grater, but that's minimal. I recently grated 3 ounces (by weight) of Romano cheese, and I had maybe a teaspoon of shreds that fell outside the grater. That's what I call a tasting sample. Everything else was contained neatly inside the grater where it stayed until I needed it for the recipe.
The tricky part of this grater was removing the sliding bottom panel to get the cheese out. There's no actual trick to it - it simply slides out. But when the grater was brand-new, it was a little snug and a bit hard to slide out. With some use, I'm sure it'll loosen up a bit to make removal easier.
And of course, if you want to grate straight into a bowl or onto your cutting board, you can leave the bottom panel off.
Who's it for: Grate people, obviously.
Pros: Five cutting surfaces, dishwasher safe, holds cheese inside.
Cons: Bottom panel needs to slide in and out a few times before it un-snugs a bit.
Wishes: Probably silly, but I thought it might be cool if it could "stand on its head" so so speak. Balance on the handle. So I could add other recipe ingredients to the cheese in the grater that are going into the recipe at the same time. On the other hand, the handle is comfortable to hold onto as its designed, and I wouldn't want to sacrifice that.
Source: I received this from the manufacturer for the purpose of a review.