The Microplane range of graters has an interesting history. I recommend googling if like me you like to know how things are made. They were originally designed as wood work tools and not for kitchen use. That there is now a range of these lovely instruments for kitchen use is a happy accident for which we should all be grateful.
My Microplane grater was a gift a two Christmases ago. It is super sharp so it came with a plastic shield to stop you cutting your fingers on it. It took me a while to use it as I was convinced I would do myself some damage with it. I am very accident prone, I tend to shatter glasses, cut myself with knives and repeatedly burn my forearms when getting stuff in and out of my oven. I once managed to slice my wrist open while washing a dish which led to an interesting conversation about the emotional health while being stitched up in the Emergency Room. So you can understand my reluctance to unleash potential disaster in my kitchen. However, to this day (and know I am looking for a piece of wood to touch) I have not cut myself on my Microplane.
Once that cover came off my Microplane became my favourite kitchen implement. I use it most days when cooking. It grates garlic, ginger, shallots and onions. I use it to grate chocolate and cheese. I have used it to grate potato for Latkes and carrots for carrot cake. While you can buy purpose designed Microplane zesters I use my grater to zest and it works very well just skimming the surface of the fruit to give the zest without the pith.
A Microplane grater shaves where a standard grater shreds. This means with cheese and chocolate you get lovely delicate meltingly light slivers. There is no comparison between the rough shards of parmesan cheese you get from a standard box grater and the soft, cloud like pile of flakes you get from grating on a Microplane.
Had I the funds I would happily buy the full range of Microplane products however right now I am more than happy with the grater I have and would heartily recommend this as a very useful addition to anyone’s kitchen.