A journey to the French kitchen knife manufacturers in Thiers, Auvergne.
Laguiole and the kitchen knives from Thiers
Thiers is the knife-making town of France. Here, the best chef’s knife manufacturers from the Grande Nation gather in one place. We had to go there.
We wanted to get to know the famous manufacturers of fantastic chef’s knives personally. It was particularly important to us to get in touch with the people behind the typical and unique knives.
Travelling to Auvergne
We drove south on a beautiful late summer day. As soon as the Rhine is crossed, you almost get in the holiday mood, even if we are talking about TYPEMYKNIFE- knife engraving were on the way.
Thiers, the epitome of French knife making is located in the Auvergne in the Puy-de-Dôme department , not far from Clermont Ferrand.
In summer, many tourists make a pilgrimage to the small town of just eleven thousand inhabitants to buy the famous, regional pocket knife, the Laguiole pocket knife.
Thiers, the city of knives is idyllically situated on the raging river “Durolle”. As early as the fourteenth century, the power of the river was used to drive the hammer mills and grinders of the cutlers.
Only in the dry season in September was the river too weak to turn the big mill wheels. A nice break for the many workers in the knife manufacturers back then.
To this day, all kinds of knives are made in various factories in Thiers. Above all, the manufactories that produce high-quality kitchen knives were in our focus. We visited the most important and best establishments in Thiers.
First we went to Coutellerie Chambriard, one of the manufacturers who offer their knives in their shop. A real family business.
We were immediately in conversation with Mr. Chambriard and his sons who work in the company. Chambriard immediately impressed us with its beautiful, elegant kitchen knives and the high-quality workmanship.
Claude Dozorme is also a knife manufacturer with a long tradition. The company has been working in the heart of Thiers for 120 years.
We were warmly welcomed there by Claudine Dozorme, who runs the family business with her father. The traditional forge produces classic Laguiole knives but also very innovative kitchen knives at the highest level.
Like the Flat Cut knife series with its one-sided handle, which really impressed us.
Goyon Chazeau is a third generation family business. As usual in Thiers and also due to the long tradition, they produce pocket knives in the Laguiole style, but above all top-class kitchen knives.
Goyon Chazeau is also treading new innovative paths in the development of chef’s knives. The handle of the F1 Carbon Series is made from Kevlar, a heat-resistant synthetic carbon fiber.
A real eye-catcher. In this manufactory, too, we were impressed by the mixture of tradition and new, forward-looking ideas.
Monsieur Bournilhas, master of the K-Sabatier house, received us in his early years of villa, which is part of the traditional K-Sabatier manufactory in Thiers. Pictures, sculptures, old documents on the walls breathe the long time in which fantastic French cutlery was produced here.
K-Sabatier still has the classic, beautiful, well-balanced kitchen knives with an elegant, narrow bolster, black handle and three steel rivets.
Our last visit to Thiers was for Mr. Ives Charles, who has taken over the knife manufacturer Perceval. Ives Charles was originally a star chef in Paris.
His dissatisfaction with the table knives on offer led him to Thiers. To get what he wants he had to make knives himself.
So he stayed in Thiers and produced today in his own manufactory one of the most beautiful kitchen knife series in France.
What we enjoyed during the Thiers days, apart from fantastic knife makers, is the French way of life. Everyone has their own definition of that.
But it’s probably the mixture of conviviality, gastronomic delights, a glass of wine, culture and joie de vivre.
Going shopping with Claus, a trained master chef, is a special experience.
Everything that was offered on the market or at the butcher’s was immediately given a French name, its translation and explanations of its origin and meaning in the kitchen.
We were in Thiers in autumn and there was already snow on the mountains. It was freezing. Many of the nice little restaurants were closed. Corona…. So we cooked for ourselves.
The roles were clearly assigned. Claus led the regiment as chef de cuisine.
When shopping, he had already planned a clear menu and selected the right drinks. I was tasked with slicing one, chopping the other, or removing the shell or skin in some special way.
I learned a lot about French cuisine. Fresh oysters or herbs from the front yard again for a long time. Gorgeous.
French kitchen knife
If you understand French cuisine a little better, the slightly differently shaped and sized knives will also explain it.
The chef’s knife must be used in every region to prepare the regionally typical dishes.
This and the origin from a long forging tradition of utility knives leads to the typical French knife style.
In addition, every nation has its own design, preferences for fashion and design. This is also reflected in the French knives.
The real French top knives. We made exactly this selection for our TYPEMYKNIFE® knife shop.
You can find out more about the individual knife manufacturers in the following blog posts