Produces very fine nutmeg shavings.
Awkward size; the small blade means it takes longer to grate what you need.
It does what it's supposed to do, but has too few applications to be practical.
Arkansas-based Microplane blew up in the kitchenware world in the late '90s, after chefs, home cooks, and heavyweight influencers like Martha Stewart touted the superiority of the company’s wood rasps for zesting citrus and grating Parm. The Classic Spice Grater (product number 40016) is among the tiniest of Microplane’s woodworking converts, positioned as a rasp for baking and beverage-topping spices (nutmeg, cinnamon). Is it a worthy upgrade from the old-fashioned hand-held nutmeg grater, or an essential accessory to the full-size Microplane grater? We thought we’d see.
The Microplane Classic Spice Grater is pretty much a Shrinky Dink version of the company's foot-long Classic Zester Grater. It measures 8 1/2 inches long by 1 inch wide, weighs a mere 2 ounces, and has a plastic handle that comes in two colors (black or red). The blade is 18/8 surgical-grade stainless steel, manufactured in the United States. You can throw it in the dishwasher for cleaning, and it comes with a hard plastic safety sheath.
To test, we shredded and zested all kinds of stuff on the Classic Spice Grater side by side with the Classic Zester Grater: nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, whole almonds, chocolate, fresh ginger, garlic cloves, lemons, and hard cheese.
Nutmeg: The Classic Spice Grater (CSG) created very fine shavings quickly; the Classic Zester Grater (CZG) yielded slightly coarser shavings.
Cinnamon: CSG did an OK job, but the shavings were kind of big, compared to commercial ground cinnamon; CZG gave essentially the same results.
Almonds: CSG yielded very fine, fluffy shavings; CZG yielded slightly coarser shavings.
Chocolate: CSG made a very fine, fluffy texture; CZG did the same.
Ginger: CSG did a terrible job—it took a lot of effort for scant results; CZG was faster and more efficient.
Garlic: CSG was bad—lots of work, small yield; CZG was easier and better.
Lemon: CSG was just too small to handle an average lemon; CZG was far better.
Cheese: CSG produced nice, fluffy shreds, but it was too small to be efficient; CZG rocked.
General stuff: Basically, Microplane’s Classic Spice Grater worked fine for the spices and nuts it’s positioned to handle. Still, we found its small blade and handle to be awkward (our nutmeg kept flying out of our fingers as we moved it up and down the small, curved blade), and the short blade took a little longer to produce results. We prefer to do it all on our full-size Classic Zester Grater, and not have to buy an extra tool—only downside is slightly coarse nutmeg shavings. We can live with that.
Photos by Chris Rochelle