November 01, 2017

I must confess… I definitely have a soft spot for the animals that ultimately are the ‘suppliers’ in the production of cheese. I think almost anyone who has visited the shop can attest that the large cow face gazing over the cash can melt a thousand hearts.

It was a similar glance that made me swoon when I first saw the HANSA brand cow. I could not help but smile and pat the little life-like Holstein. So wonderfully tactile, and so expressive!

HANSA Toy International was founded in 1972 by German-born Hans Axthelm. His vision and objective was to create meticulous, true-to-life plush animals to exact specifications as in nature. As a result, an average of 42 (and sometimes up to 240) individual pieces are hand-cut and hand-trimmed following “old world” techniques. They are then sewn inside-out to minimize seams. After stuffing, each animal is carefully sculpted to create the specific characteristics of the breed. Most are created using wire armature and many of the life-sized ones, (as is ‘Matilda’, our goat in waiting), are built with lightweight titanium steel frames that can hold a ride-on weight of up to 65 kg.!


The La Jolie/HANSA story began with Daisy, Alfalfa, and Clover… three lovelies that have since left with customers equally enamoured. For Christmas we have increased our herds and added a flock – cows, sheep, goats, and a smashing water buffalo. What an imaginative and fun gift for a cheese-lover they will be!