Laguiole Sommelier Knife
Uncorking a bottle of wine is a moment of celebration for what you're about to enjoy. Sommeliers understand this, and take the opportunity to add to the theatre of drawing the cork from the bottle by wielding a sommelier knife with panache.
I was trundling through Le Marais when I stumbled upon a tiny cutlers' shop. Stepping into it meant that no one else could get in; it really was that tiny. However, it was packed to the rafters with knives and tableware. I knew I wouldn't be leaving without buying something, and the lady behind the counter knew it too.
She elegantly presented me with beautiful hardware, all to no avail, before nodding to herself and smiling, as she produced the Laguiole sommelier knife. "The handle is handmade from the wood of a tree felled on Marie Antoinette's farm at the palace of Versailles. It comes with a leather pouch too."
All Laguiole knives are handmade, and the sommelier knife has three moving components, requiring 216 production steps. Laguiole believe that using one of their products should be a pleasure; so everything is considered, from the warmth of the handle in the hand, the strength of the steel, and the ease of use.
Laguiole added a corkscrew in 1880 to its popular knives, in response to the demands by men from Northern Aveyron who had migrated to the bars and cafés of Paris to be waiters.
It's believed that the corkscrew was an English invention from around 1630, based on a tool called a gun worm that musket men used for removing unspent charges from the barrel of their musket. It was the German, Karl Wienke, who patented the sommelier knife in 1882.
The corkscrew is a simple, but essential tool, that you shouldn't leave home without.