Gadget Review – Microplane Ultimate (not quite) Citrus Tool


Although it was a stocking stuffer, my Microplane was one of the standout gifts of last Christmas.

A Microplane is exactly that. It uses the principles of a woodworking plane, only miniaturized and specialized for kitchen duty.

All the TV chefs seem to insist upon them. Therefore, I had to have one too. Hey, I’m completely in touch with my impulsiveness, especially when it comes to food gadgets (I’ll tell you about the impetus to buy an iPhone in a later post). Perhaps I’d been sucked in by endorsement hungry superstar chefs. But there had to be more to this than empty hype. And there was!

Microplane 2When I finally figured out how to remove the plastic guard, it beamed at me, rows of razor sharp teeth set off by a cheerful green colour scheme. I was head over heels in love. Yet, even as I marveled at its ergonomic shape, and no slip handle, I wondered at the plastic housing retaining the plane.

Any misgivings over construction were quickly overcome on first use. Wisps of zest emerged effortlessly as I first plied it against the skin of a lime. I caught myself guffawing like a gleeful but mad scientist.

The tool’s perfectly calibrated blades whizzed through the flesh of oranges and lemons with the same zeal, mounding fuzzy piles of the essential oil bearing outer layer while magically leaving the bitter white pith untouched. It made the box grater I’d been using for zesting seem…well primitive. (Although we still use stone tools in the kitchen…my granite mortar and pestle is a fave).

My Microplane proved indispensable. It became the darling of the kitchen…queen of all cuisine enhancing gadgets. Our first year together was bliss, whazzing up amazing glazes for Mexican treats, gorgeous garnishes for creative cocktails. Each use ended with a warm bath of soapy water. When fully dried, and with the plastic guard again protecting the priceless cutting surface, I’d tuck it snug as a bug in the utensil drawer. Each time I opened the drawer, I got a little tingle of joy at seeing it there.

So you can imagine how utterly betrayed I felt when, in the early stages of creating a citrus glaze for a turkey that required the zest of no less than 12, count em, 12 limes and 12 oranges, it happened. The break up. It was our first anniversary (almost to the day). There was a sudden weakening of resolve, a questioning moment, the abrupt unresponsiveness. Then SNAP. My Microplane broke in two.

Microplane 3No WAY! You little fucker. One year, six uses and twenty effing dollars later and it’s all over!?

Turns out my Microplane didn’t prove so indispensable after all. Its shattered remains were placed ceremoniously in the garbage can on a pyre of citrus peel.

But this isn’t a negative review of the Microplane Ultimate Citrus Tool. Yes, the break up left me bitter, but I’ve known the joy a Microplane can bring. I will most certainly seek another relationship. Not a cheap and tawdry affair with a cheap plastic piece of crap. I’m ready for a lifelong commitment, a professional grade all metal construction zester which retails, inexplicably, for only a couple of dollars more.

Microplane products are available at:

The Happy Cooker

Osborne Village
464 Stradbrook Avenue
Winnipeg, MB. R3L 0J9
204-453-2665 (cook)

da Niels Gourmet Kitchenware

485 Berry St
Winnipeg, MB. R3J 1N6
(204) 953-2345

Microplane Canada

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6 Responses to “Gadget Review – Microplane Ultimate (not quite) Citrus Tool”

  1. There is a great microplane offereed at Lee Valley. It was originally a wood rasp but proved indispensible in the kitchen. It is an all stainless steel number and also comes with a zest catcher.

  2. Great tip Ruth. Looks like this could be the one. Also spotted a Christmas or two worth of cool tools for the kitchen under the chef gifts section. The pot clip (nooo…not that kind of pot clip) was particularly interesting.

  3. Hi!
    Wanted to chime in with my two cents. I have one that is a long guy, bout a foot long. Went to check its name and it’s brand is actually “Microplane”. This sucker is awesome. Very sturdy. My step dad who is a tool junky got it for me, I thought it would have been a tool based one (an actual plane for wood) but the image on the label shows a piece of chocolate.

    I have the “ribbon” on which is great (grate?) 😀

  4. Nice! Sounds like you landed one of the pro series…they’re long and skinny, not wide like the Ultimate. That’s totally the direction I think I’m heading so it’s great (grate) LOL to hear it’s a hit.

  5. The same thing is about to happen to mine! One side is broken and I fear the other will break soon, too. Too bad; I love how sharp the blades are, but I won’t replace it with the same model as it’s just too likely to break. I’m holding out for the awesome one at Lee Valley.

  6. It really is too bad because it’s a stylish little thing, whisked beautifully through rind, and the side zester made it a handy bar tool too!

    Microplane claims to have addressed this issue in the new release of the Ultimate Citrus tool this past June.

    But as you say, once bitten twice shy. Zest for the rest of us lies in another product line or brand.