Laguiole 'Tradition' Cutlery
Laguiole (pronounced lah-yole or la-gwee-ole depending on what side of the bed you got out of) is a small village in the Southern France department of Aveyron and the birthplace of Laguiole knives.
The traditional Laguiole knife is a handcrafted folding knife with a horn handles first made by Pierre-Jean Calmels in 1829. The cork screw was added in the 1880’s. The back of the blade of the knives are traditionally adorned by a bee.
Laguiole is not a brand name. It is a generic term for a French handcrafted folding knife, in the same way that the word “champagne” is a generic term for sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France. However, unlike the word “champagne”, the word “Laguiole” has never been protected. This lack of protection means that the market has been flooded with poor quality imitations manufactured outside of France using inferior techniques and materials.
Laguiole knives were made in Laguiole from 1829 until the outbreak of First World War. After the war production moved to Thiers, a town 200 kilometres northeast of Laguiole. Thiers is known as the coutellerie (cutlery) capital of France and its history as a cutlery manufacturing hub dates back to the 14th century. It is only in recent years that some companies have resumed production in Laguiole.
The Laguiole knives that we stock are handcrafted in Thiers, France, by respected French corkscrew and knife manufacturer Vauzy-Chassangne, incorporated in 1850. The knives feature blades made from 440 grade stainless steel, brass or stainless steel solid bolsters with handles made from natural materials such as black cow horn, oak, barrell yew tree or cherry wood. The knives are high quality, solid and weighty, in stark contrast to the light weight imitations on the market.
One of our favourite products is the Chateau Laguiole Sommelier Wine Knife which was designed by Master Sommelier and Cutler Guy Vialis in 1992. Since 1992 Vauzy-Chassangne has produced special editions of the Chateau Laguiole wine knife to commemorate the winners of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale’s “World’s Best Sommelier Award”.