Victorinox Swiss Army Buyers' Guide
Victorinox was founded by Karl Elsener in Switzerland in 1884 and began supplying knives to the Swiss Army only seven years later. Thanks to the help of its American distributor, Forschner, the company found international success in the years leading up to and during World War II. Though the companies have since merged, the Forschner name is still associated with many of the brand's quality products.
Throughout the years, Victorinox Swiss Army has become known for more than soldiers' knives and now offers quality cutlery and kitchen accessories that professional and home chefs around the world use and love.
- Boning Knives:
A Victorinox boning knife has a long, narrow, and slightly flexible blade to give the user precise control over the cut, resulting in perfectly boned and filleted meat. Large Forschner fillet knives are ideal for removing bones from a ham or beef roast, while smaller boning knives that are more flexible may also be used as a fillet knife for fish. Victorinox fillet knives are available with wooden or plastic handles, and some are color-coded to facilitate safety and organization in commercial kitchens.
- Butcher Knives:
Victorinox butcher knives cover a range of shapes and sizes, including cimeter knives, breaking knives, and skinning knives. A large cimeter Victorinox butcher knife with a broad blade can be used for breaking down large pieces of meat, while the smaller, curved breaking knives are better for trimming and smaller slices. Some Victorinox butchers' knives are available with a Granton blade, which uses indentions in the metal to prevent meat from sticking to the blade. The company also makes specialty butcher knives, such as cleavers for cutting through bone and skinning knives for processing fresh meat.
- Paring and Utility Knives:
A Victorinox paring knife is typically a small knife with a 2-1⁄2 to 4 inch blade that is used for intricate work, such as peeling fruit or cutting garnish. The small, tapered blade makes this type of knife ideal for detailed cuts. Bird's beak paring knives are also available, with a curved blade that is well-suited for peeling round fruits or doing complex carving work. Victorinox utility knives are larger, between 4- and 7-inches long, and are similar in shape to paring and chef knives. These Victorinox knives are used for cutting various types of food, such as vegetables or small cuts of meat. A Victorinox utility knife may be called a sandwich knife in some applications, as they are often used for cutting a sandwich in half. Both paring and utility knives are available with straight or serrated blades and with a variety of handle choices so you can find the right fit for you.
- Chef Knives:
Victorinox chef knives, also called cook's knives or French knives, are one of the most commonly-used knives in any kitchen. A cook's knife can be as small as 6 inches or as long as 12 inches, with most settling in the middle at around 8 inches. A Victorinox chef knife has a blade that tapers to the tip, which allows the user to make precise cuts by rocking the blade back and forth. These can be used for everything from large cuts to fine mincing. While most of these have a straight blade, scalloped blades are also available. With handles made of several types of wood, plastic, and textures, there is a Victorinox chefs' knife for every kitchen.
- Steak Knives:
Victorinox steak knives, often still called Forschner steak knives, are serrated knives meant to cut steak, poultry, and other meats. These Victorinox knives, used at the table rather than in the kitchen, are available individually or in sets of six. A Victorinox steak knife may have a straight, serrated, or half-serrated blade, and may be pointed or rounded on the end. There are also many handle choices available, including black thermoplastic with rivets, rosewood with rivets, and solid black, white, red, or blue plastic.
- Slicing Knives:
A Victorinox slicing knife can be used to slice large cuts of cooked meat, including roasts, poultry, and ribs. These knives may have a straight or serrated blade with a blunt or pointed tip. These often also have a Granton blade, which uses small indentations to create air pockets that help prevent food from sticking to the blade. A thin, flexible Victorinox slicer is sometimes called a ham slicer, as it is more suited for cutting through the dense pork. Plastic and rosewood handles are available, and you can also get a Victorinox carving knife with an offset blade for better leverage when slicing.
- Bread Knives:
Because of its deeply serrated edge, a Forschner bread knife is capable of cutting soft bread without crushing or tearing it and slicing delicate produce such as tomatoes. These blades may be rounded or pointed on the tip and can be straight or curved. Victorinox bread knives are available with plastic or rosewood handles, and some are also offset to make slicing easy. With blades available from 7 to 12 inches, there is a Victorinox bread knife to meet every need.
- Knife Sets:
A Victorinox kitchen knives set may contain as few as three or as many as 24 pieces. Sets are available with just one type of knife, such as a set of steak knives or a set of paring knives, or you can get a full complement of kitchen knives. Victorinox Fibrox knife sets are available with the highly-acclaimed Fibrox handles, which are made out of a comfortable, dishwasher-safe plastic. Sets are available in knife blocks, soft cutlery rolls, or hard-sided carrying cases, which let you store or transport your Victorinox knife set the way that works best for you.
Maintenance and Organization
- Knife Sharpeners:
Once you have the perfect set of kitchen knives, you may consider investing in a Victorinox knife sharpener to help keep your knives in optimal condition. There are several types to choose from, including sharpening steels, handheld sharpeners, and sharpening systems with crystalon stones.
You can find a Victorinox sharpening steel for any knife, with myriad combinations available of handle shapes, materials, steel lengths, shapes, and grit patterns. Despite their colloquial name, these are made for honing, rather than sharpening, knives and should be used in conjunction with a sharpening system. There is a handheld Victorinox sharpener available for the chef on the go, but a stationary sharpening system is likely to yield much better results due to the ability to change out the sharpening stones to the grit you need.
- Knife Blocks and Bags:
A Victorinox knife holder can help keep your knives organized and safe, and protect you from cuts while transporting them. For large knife sets, a Victorinox knife bag or cutlery roll is great for chefs that travel. When you need to protect the blade of a single knife, the company offers plastic or magnetic blade protectors in multiple sizes.
When you need to store knives in your kitchen, a Victorinox knife block or tool holder can help keep your knives organized. Knife blocks are available with as few as 6 slots or as many as 17. Another option is a magnetic knife bar, which is mounted on the wall and 12- or 18-inches long. Victorinox also offers a stainless steel tool holder, which allows you to drop knives into an open holding area. They also provide scabbards, which are smaller versions of the tool holder that can hang on your belt to keep knives easily accessible.
More Than Knives
Victorinox scissors and shears are available for many uses both in and out of the kitchen. Victorinox shears with color-coded handles can help keep them organized and prevent cross-contamination. Straight, thin shears for paper, bent shears for cutting against a flat surface, and wire utility shears are all available, as well as Victorinox shears with a built-in bottle opener. The company also offers poultry shears, with curved 4-inch blades and a locking mechanism for cutting through meat and bone.
- Specialty Pieces:
In addition to the knives that Victorinox has been making for decades, the company also produces specialty pieces for you to use throughout the kitchen. The Victorinox oyster knife is short, wide, and tapered, ideal for prying shells open. If you need a Victorinox cheese knife, the company makes them with one or two handles and with straight or Granton blades so you can find the perfect combination for you. When you need to peel produce, there is a Victorinox peeler to fit your needs. Whether you want a straight peeler for accuracy or a Y-model with a horizontal blade for speed, or even an angled combination of the two, Victorinox will have what you need.
Victorinox Swiss Army also makes tools for you to use beyond food prep and into cooking. Slotted, solid, and perforated turners are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to help you find the perfect fit for your grill or griddle. Cook's forks, also called carving forks, are available in lengths from 10 to 14 inches. Both of these tool types are available with plastic or wooden handles and often come with a tab or loop for hanging them near the griddle.
In addition to all of the durable knives and tools Victorinox produces, they also offer accessories and parts to help you get the most use out of their products. Victorinox gloves are available in steel mesh or cut-resistant cloth to help protect you or your employees when using sharp knives. They can be purchased with colored bands to help keep them organized and prevent cross-contamination. Victorinox accessories include can openers, cake servers, and pizza wheels, letting you put the company's dependability to work for you throughout the kitchen. The Victorinox parts offered are also helpful, including replacement springs for shears and slice guides for both left- and right-handed use to help you cut even slices.