This past summer, our ongoing pursuit of exceptional objects took us back to France, where we spent time trekking through Paris, Lyon and Nice in search of new cool items to bring to Flotsam+Fork. No matter where we went—whether it was hardware stores, kitchen supply shops, or specialty retailers—we were drawn to the incredible variety of France's regional pocketknives.
Of course the most famous examples of this phenomenon are the Laguiole and Opinel, but in conversations with knife merchants and experts, we learned that almost every part of the country has its own unique form of folding blade—typically inspired by the traditions and demands of the region.
With the new Flotsam+Fork French Knife Collection, we bring you some of our favorite shapes and styles—an assortment that represents the range and diversity of the French pocket knife.
The L'armor folding knife's singular style is the product of its maritime Breton origins, signified by the brass anchor inlay on the horn handle. Designed for use by mariners and fishermen of Bretagne. The rounded top edge of the blade is meant to protect sailors from inadvertent stabbing on rough seas. >>>
An essential tool long popular among the farmers and seaman of France's northwest coast. The Pradel, first made in Thiers more than 150 years ago, became famous for its sturdy construction and its signature snap—instantly recognizable—upon closing. "C'est un Pradel!"
3.5" pocket knife blade with classic Pradel-style horn handle. Available with or without corkscrew. >>>
Originally a shepherd's essential in the southwestern region of Occitane, the Laguiole in now one of the most famous pocketknives on the planet.
This Laguiole-style folding knife comes with a polished horn handle and brass end caps. Handle also features the signature bee stamp and cross of pins. Legend has it that devout shepherds in the field would stick their Laguioles in the ground and prey towards the cross on the handle. Available with or without corkscrew. >>>
Laguiole (Olive, Ebony, Alum)
photos by Blaine Davis
From a sunny studio in East Williamsburg, self-taught ceramicist Natalie Weinberger handcrafts her own line of distinctive pottery—eye-catching vessels that combine understated elegance and clever design. For years, we've enjoyed countless large pours of hot beverages in a pair of her lovely and lightweight (yet totally substantial) mugs.
Her work is exactly the type we seek to celebrate here at Flotsam+Fork, so we're extremely excited that Natalie, a longtime friend and supporter of F+F, could take a little time to help us showcase some items from our selection and share a few of her favorite products in the shop... >>>
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OLIVE OIL CAN
My absolute favorite item in my kitchen—who knew one could fall in love with an olive oil can? It's form is so sleek and human-like, easy to clean, but most importantly a joy to use. The spout is so precise, it will never drip on your stove or countertop, a bragging point for all my friends who've been smart enough to get one for their own kitchen. >>>
Ceramic mugs are great, but everyone should own one version in light-weight enamel. Ideal for camping trips or for traveling to destinations where the coffee is sub-par, and you're better off making your own. >>>
I find sweeping to be a very relaxing chore, only to be enhanced by a beautiful dustpan with a super straight edge for maximum dust pickup. >>>
I'm very attracted to the inviting form of this wooden paring knife. >>>
One can never have enough simple twine on hand—for presents, leftovers, or repairs. This combo feels very utilitarian and honest in a way that's beautiful. >>>
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Shop Natalie's friendly suggestions >>>
Taking advantage of a sunny late summer Sunday, ceramicist Natalie Weinberger and photographer Adrianna Glaviano, both friends of the shop from New York, recently spent an afternoon shooting (and using) a pair of our Spanish stainless steel oil cans, crafted in the Basque region by Ilsa.
Honestly, we didn't think it was possible to make these elegant objects look any better than already do, but somehow Adrianna and Natalie found a way. See for yourself, though, and if you like how they look, find one for your own kitchen here.
Our complete collection of Catalonian cutlery is back in stock.
Once upon a time, dozens of artisan blacksmiths handcrafted exquisite steel cutlery in the the walled city of Solsona, located about 75 miles northwest of Barcelona. Known as the Guild of Saint Eligius—after the patron saint of metalworkers—their finely tempered and exceptionally sharp knives were prized throughout Catalonia.
Now, you will only find only one remaining knifemaker—Cuchilleria Pallarès—forging cutlery in this enclave in the southern foothills of the Pyrenees. Rest assured, though, that the tradition endures. The knives that emerge from the workshops of Pallarès Solsona still meet the exacting standards established long ago by the Guild of Saint Eligius and carry a pedigree that is centuries in the making.
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