Steak Knives - Why

Thiers steak knife by R. Chazeau
Thiers steak knife by R. Chazeau

Most people purchase a set of flatware based on the most likely entertaining number of setting requirements, match if with the china setting and as an afterthought at a much later date consider the need for steak knives. Most flatware manufacturers do not offer matching steak knives as part of their collections. The only company I know that offers matching steak knives is John Philip of France, there may be others.

Whilst you do not need to exactly match you existing flatware is it nice to be able to complement it, and fortunately there are many many options for steak knives in a variety of handle finishes in natural wood, exotic wood, mother of pearl, horn, silver and different designs. Classic names such as Laguiole, Thiers and Chateaubriand will stand the test of time. Always look to purchase a quality product from a well known manufacturer which will provide the weight, authenticity, and quality that you will appreciate for many years. The main functional requirement of a steak knife is its cutting ability and its ability to remain sharp. Look for blades in forged steel. Expect to pay over $300 for a wooden box of six knives.

The classic steak knives are made in France from the Thiers area of central France in the Auvergne. This is an area famous for manufacturing flatware and cutlery for hundreds of years and they still make their steak knives by hand in the traditional way.

Probably the most famous and widely used knife is the Laguiole steak knife (originally the laguiole knife was a multi purpose folding knife but it was developed into a steak knife) made in the village of Laguiole and surrounding towns. It is recognized by the distinctive Napoleon bee on the bolster and will be inscribed with the manufacturers name and Laguiole on the carbon steel blade. Beware of cheap copies.

Again from the same area is the Chateaubriand steak knife made by Alain Saint-Joanis, this is a well balance knife with a variety of wooden handles and has the added advantage of matching forks. The knife is attractive and matches the woods of the Alain Saint-Joanis main flatware collections. The Chateaubriand steak knife has gained recent popularity by being featured in the American version of House and Garden.

The Thiers steak knife is again a variation of the local theme but is a lovely knife, made to exacting standards in a variety of exotic woods.

Whilst not an essential part of your flatware collection the French steak knife is an attractive and very practical addition.

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