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Essential Kitchen Cutlery Sets

In a world of stainless steel and long-lasting gold finishes, silverware is very rarely made out of silver anymore. Today’s cutlery sets are made instead with safety, durability, and ease of washing in mind.

What’s Included in a Cutlery Set?

As in kitchen knife sets, the contents of a cutlery set will vary. However, basic cutlery sets are standardized, and will typically contain different styles of the same five items.

In general, basic cutlery sets are sized to 20 pieces. They’ll feature 4 dinner forks, 4 salad forks, 4 soup spoons, 4 dessert spoons, and 4 dinner knives. If you wish to add to your kitchen without buying additional sets, brands often offer each piece sold separately, as well.

While silverware is a term that originally indicated the silver coating on dishes or cutlery, the term is used more broadly today. If you search for “silverware,” “utensils,” “cutlery,” and “flatware,” you’ll see four different labels arguably all describing the same category. Flatware sets, cutlery sets, and silverware sets are typically interchangeable terms.

What are Different Kinds of Cutlery Sets?

For an everyday cutlery set, look for something in a stainless steel finish that won’t spot in the dishwasher. Consider the colour, shape, and weight of each piece: heavier cutlery will withstand more wear over time, but lighter items may be more enjoyable to use on a daily basis. Plated, painted, or colour-blocked sets are a great way to highlight your place settings, and (if you get lucky,) might even match the colour theme in your dining room! Most of today’s modern flatware comes in a durable, stainless steel, but more aesthetically inclined brands still offer mid-century, baroque, or rustic flatware.

Cutlery sets exist beyond your standard 20, 40, or 60 pieces. Specialized items allow the consumer to add niche tools to their dining room set in the same style. Look for cutlery-specific or cuisine-specific items such as pâté knives or cake knives, and don’t be afraid to indulge in items like ice cream spoons or classed-up plastic party cutlery sets.

Luxury Silver Cutlery Sets

“Silverware” no longer describes the cream of the cutlery crop, but you can still purchase cutlery that’s worth passing down for generations. Look to brands like Christofle for sterling silver and silver-plated flatware with intricate designs. With a bit of hunting, you’ll be able to track down the divine flouted, braided, and etched styles that you remember fondly from Christmas dinner with your family.