Not all Laguiole is created equal. There are a number of Laguiole makers, each producing Laguiole ranges that differ in design, quality, colour and of course price.
This page provides guidance on how to select the best Laguiole for your money.
Is Laguiole a brand of cutlery? Is it genuine?
Traditionally, Laguiole refers to a type of knife, i.e. a pocket knife originally produced in the town of Laguiole in the Aveyron region of southern France. In modern times, the word Laguiole has become a generic term to describe a style of cutlery and is not restricted to any one maker, company, brand, trade name, or place of manufacture. As such, there is no real or fake Laguiole; only good and bad.
I already own Laguiole. How can I ensure that what I buy matches?
There are a number of makers that manufacture Laguiole. They all have their own Laguiole designs, styles and qualities. Therefore, if you are matching an existing Laguiole set, it is recommended that any additional sets be purchased from the same Laguiole maker.
Where is Laguiole made?
There are only a handful of makers that actually manufacture in Laguiole. One is called Forge de Laguiole. A single piece of Forge de Laguiole cutlery, e.g. one knife costs around $200. Such high-end manufacturers also manufacture in other countries.
A Laguiole set that is packaged in France can be labelled as “Made in France”. The item may have been made in France, Hungary, USA, China, Thailand or India and it may be high, medium or low quality. So “Made in France” is not a statement of quality. It simply tells you where the manufacturing was completed. Unlike a Swiss watch which is made to exacting Swiss government imposed standards there are no rules for manufacturing Laguiole.
How do I care for my Laguiole?
Care information should be included with your Laguiole set. If not, check with the Laguiole maker or place of purchase. In general:
Acrylic (ABS) handles
Most ABS handles are dishwasher safe, but care should be taken not to use abrasive or citrus-based dishwashing powders or liquids as these may dull the bright colours. Also avoid using the intensive and pot cycle (hottest) of the dishwasher. Wash on top rack of dishwasher.
Timber handles must be washed by hand and dried thoroughly. Care should be taken not to use abrasive or citrus-based dishwashing powders or liquids as these may damage the timber handles. These knives are not dishwasher safe.
In some rare cases, the stainless steel components of some cutlery pieces may become discoloured and exhibit a rust-like appearance after being washed in the dishwasher. This is not due to faulty cutlery; rather it is caused by other metal items in the dishwasher or the dishwasher itself. This is known as “electrolysis”. If this occurs, dishwasher manufacturers recommend regular cleaning of the dishwasher with a dishwasher cleaner. They also advise that it is best to start the dishwasher on the pot cycle and then add the cleaner 10 minutes after it starts. It is also recommended that all items be rinsed before placing them in the dishwasher and avoid the use of detergents containing citrus and highly chlorinated water.
The discolouration can be removed with a baking soda / water mix dipped in a cotton rag.
What do I need to consider when buying Laguiole?
As with most purchases, discernment regarding materials, craftsmanship and business practices ensure customer satisfaction.
In the marketplace, Laguiole products come in all levels of quality. The key things to consider when buying Laguiole are described below. If you are uncertain about these, check with the Laguiole maker or place of purchase before you buy.
The price often reflects the quality. Laguiole cutlery priced at under $3 a piece is regarded as sub-standard “picnic-set” quality and should be used infrequently as these pieces end up disintegrating with frequent use.
The thicker the stainless steel the better the quality – it will last longer and resist breaking. Anything below 1.5mm will flex when used and possibly cause the handles to crack. Thicker stainless steel also allows for a deeper mirror-like polish. The recommended stainless steel gauge is 1.8mm or greater. This is similar to the thickness of a house key. The Louis Thiers standard is 2.5mm; the Andre Aubrac standard is 1.8mm.
The bee insignia represents Laguiole and is displayed on each piece of Laguiole cutlery. Bees come in varying styles and sizes. Some may even be laser-etched onto a piece. Many Laguiole items have poor quality bees. This may also indicate that the cutlery itself is poorly made. High quality Laguiole pieces have moulded bees. The Louis Thiers and Andre Aubrac bee is moulded.
It is important that any cutlery used to serve food has passed the TV Rheinland GRAS (FDA) or equivalent food safety test. All Louis Thiers and Andre Aubrac cutlery has passed these food safety tests.
Acrylic (ABS) handles
ABS handles are moulded. There should not be any evidence of the joins of the mould or cracks in the ABS. The join between the ABS handle and the stainless steel blade should be smooth and without gaps.
Being an organic product, the timber handle of each piece of cutlery will be unique. There should however not be any flaws in the timber. The join between the timber handle and the stainless steel blade should be smooth and without gaps.
High quality Laguiole sets come with a full replacement warranty of at least 24 months.