I first caught sight of this gorgeous, heart-shaped nut splitter (designed by Jim Hannon-Tan in 2008) on the Alessi website. Usually put off by their more unusual and overly "cute" design objects, I thought this would be a great candidate for my very first Alessi purchase. Since I hadn't seen the tool in person, I held off on buying it until a few weeks ago when I happened across it at the Soho MoMA store in Manhattan... and it was on sale. I bought it without hesitation.
I was dying to try the splitter on some whole, unshelled walnuts, but there were none to be found at any of the nearby supermarkets. It was two weeks later that I finally discovered some in the produce section at Whole Foods. Beautiful and sensuous as the splitter is in appearance, its utility as a nutcracker is somewhat limited. While it will almost always split the walnut open in some fashion, it is all too easy to mangle the shell in the process and end up with too small an opening. Now we know why walnuts are usually sold pre-shelled!