The appeal of Laguiole cutlery is clear. Colourful handles, quirky details and a French country provenance makes them a sought after addition to any table.
Laguiole is actually the name of a village in the Aubrac Mountains of the Aveyron region of France. It’s also the name of a cheese, and the generic name for a folding knife. It’s not a brand name, which is why you can find Laguiole style cutlery made all over the world, across a range of price points.
The original Laguiole knives were folding pocket knives with handles crafted from horn or wood which were used by farmers and shepherds in the early 1800s. Today’s versions feature the same slim profile, although much of the production has moved outside the town of Laguiole to other areas of France.
The key distinguishing feature of Laguiole knives is the insect at the top of the handle. Many people believe it’s a bee, a royal seal of approval bestowed by Napoleon in gratitude for courageous fighting by local soldiers. Others think it’s a horse fly, familiar to local farmers. Whatever the story, it’s a charming detail and a good way to assess the quality of a knife.
The Jean Néron Coutellerie is located in Chabreloche, north of Laguiole in the Puy-de-Dome, in south-central France. A third generation family business, Jean Néron prides itself on producing cutlery according to longstanding tradition, but practical enough to be used every day – the colourful resin handles and inox stainless steel blades of this range are dishwasher proof.
Did you know – if you’re the recipient of the knife as a gift, it’s customary to give a coin in response to avoid cutting the ties of the friendship!