In Italian, mezza luna means half moon. In the kitchen, mezza luna refers to a double-handled knife with a curved blade (or, blades, as there are there double-bladed mezza lunas) for chopping herbs. I especially find it useful for chopping onions — since the blade is never too far from the chopping board, there is less impact on the onion and the chance that bits will fly off is far less than when using an Asian cleaver. But the best part is the lightness of mezza luna compared to a cleaver or a chef’s knife.
The first mezza luna I owned, bought by Speedy, was a small one. Years later, he would give me a larger one with a notice that he’s still searching for the double bladed model.
I chopped quite a lot of onions and oregano earlier today that went into my biftekia (Greek beef patties) and I used the mezza luna for the job. It took less than three minutes. Why not an electric chopper? Control, baby. Control. When you chop by hand, you can see and feel if the fineness or coarseness is just right and you can stop at once. Some jobs are better done by complex machines; others are best done with simple machines like the mezza luna.