French Cutlery August 28 2016

Laguiole Steak KnivesIf you ask people what comes to mind when they hear the words "French culture," most of them will say: fine food, wine and cheese. Many will say: beauty, elegance, and style. Some will say: socialism and taxes - but that's a topic for another blog post!

What almost nobody will say is: fine knives and cutlery.

But the French actually do have a very rich tradition and a long history of producing some of the finest - and arguably the most beautiful - knives and cutlery in the world.

The tradition started in a little village called Laguiole in the Aubrac region of south-central France, when the local cutlers (knife makers) began making knives that blended the practicality and durability of a local peasant knife called the Capuchadou with the striking, almost sensual beauty of an Arabo-Hispanic knife called the Navaja. The resulting folding knife, known simply as the Laguiole, became famous for its quality, usefulness, and style. Over the years, the cutlers of Aubrac developed variations on the original design that included corkscrews, steak knives, and other forms of flatware (cheese knives, forks, spoons, etc).

Laguiole Cheese knovesUnfortunately, the cutlers of Aubrac did not think about protecting the word "Laguiole" (like the vintners of northern France thought of protecting the word "Champagne") until it was too late. As a result, there are many knives that are marketed as "Laguiole" that are not made in Aubrac. Some of them are knives of mediocre quality that are mass-produced in other parts of France (Thiers, for example). And some are cheap, low-quality knock-offs made in Asia. 

There are only a couple of cutleries left in Aubrac. All of our cutlery is authentic Laguiole cutlery that is made in the region of Aubrac, in accordance with the high standards of quality and artisanal traditions of the region. The blades and hardware are made of high performance Sandvik stainless steel. The handles are made of precious materials (hardwoods, exotic woods, water buffalo horn, ram's horn, stag's horn, turquoise, etc). Each piece is a unique work of art, handmade by a single craftsman. Each one carries its maker's mark.

Laguiole Corkscrew

When you hold one of these beautiful pieces of cutlery in your hand you will know that you are dealing with something very rare and unusual in today's world: an authentic example of artisanal skill and master craftsmanship.