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4 Days Cooking Holiday & Wine Tasting France

Gourmet Experience and French Wine Tasting in Loire Valley

Come to the Secret Garden, in France, where you will enjoy a wonderful cooking holiday tailored to your skills and experience. Rinus and Lesley Woermeijer welcome you to join them in their beautiful old farmhouse, dating from 1834, and orchard, tucked away in the Loir Valley of France, where you will work with Lesley, the chef and the teacher, during the day, in the various hands-on cooking sessions, and in the evening, you will enjoy the food you have prepared and cooked.


  • Purchase fresh ingredients from local markets
  • Enjoy local, French wines together with your meals
  • 3 hands-on cooking sessions learning key French dishes
  • Visit the farmers' market and enjoy a wine cave tour with tastings
  • Enjoy the fruits of your labour for lunch and dinner
  • Recipe folder with the menus and recipes
  • Daily continental breakfast
  • 3 nights accommodation


2 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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TheSecretGarden-France is set with in the grounds of L’Huiliere, a historic farmhouse dating before 1834, and the buildings and property have changed over the years. In early 2000, the stable was converted into a 2-bedroom gite, this being now the center of the cooking school. With the stable now hosting the large fully-equipped, open-plan kitchen on the ground floor with double height ceiling and traditional oak beams, the venue keeps the character of the building and period. There is a large dining / lounge area for relaxing and one of the four double / twin en-suite bedrooms.

The further three bedrooms are located in the newly converted barn; two bedrooms have double beds and the third one had twin beds. All three bedrooms have new en-suite shower rooms, again keeping to the character of style of the building. There is a small kitchen area so you can help yourself to tea and coffee.


Day 1 - Arrival

The experience will include your arrival meal, where you will meet the others joining you for the cooking day.

Day 2 - Cooking session

Today, you will be treated to a traditional French breakfast. Then, you will head off to the kitchen for the day, where you will create fabulous food for lunch and sit down to enjoy your hard work. After lunch, you will reconvene and start on the preparation for your evening meal. Again, you will cook the meal and sit down and enjoy your hard work in a relaxing environment, with local wine and, of course, weather permitting, you will enjoy this outside in the sun drenched gardens.

Day 3 - Farmers' market visit, cooking session

Today, you will head off to the farmers' market to buy the ingredients for the day's cooking. You will have a walk around and then, stop off for a coffee. Later, you will head back to prepare and cook the meals for the day.

Day 4 - Departure

Enjoy a continental breakfast, before heading off back to your rooms to complete your packing and saying your farewells ready for departure by 11:00.

Included excursions

  • Trip to one of the local farmers markets, wander through the fantastic stalls of local produce
  • Visit one of the famous vineyards for a tour through their wine cave and enjoy a wine tasting


Courdemanche is a small village in the heart of Loire Valley, located 40 minutes south of Le Mans, famous for the 24-hour car racing circuit, and 50 minutes north of the University City of Tours; it is a blend of old and new town and fantastic city to enjoy the French life style.


The menus are based on French cooking with some European additions. They are developed on the requirements of the guests attending each of the courses, as Secret Garden caters for allergies and foods that people just will not eat. Examples of the meals you will be cooking during your cooking experience could be:

  • Beef carpaccio with quails eggs
  • Beetroot cured salmon with coriander salad and pickled radish
  • Glazed lemon tart with goats cheese sorbet and chocolate macaroon
  • Ham hock terrine with crispy poached egg and pickled vegetables
  • Pan fried scallops on a bed of celeriac puree and local Boudin noir

Things to do (optional)

  • Cycling
  • Enjoy the garden and orchard
  • Golf
  • Visit a chateau
  • Visit the local town to watch the world go by
  • Walking

What's included

  • 2 lunches
  • 3 nights accommodation
  • 3 three-course dinners
  • Daily continental breakfast
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Menu and recipe book
  • Tea and coffee
  • Visit a wine cave
  • Visit to farmers' market
  • Wine with the evening meals

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers

How to get there

Driving directions

  • For SatNav systems, your destination should be 72150, Brives, this will exit you from the motorway A28 at J24 (you are 30 minutes away)
  • From Brives, follow sign for Courdemanche
  • As you leave Brives, on the road to Courdemanche L’Huilerie is second property on right (just beyond the junction sign)
  • Parking is available through the gate next to the gite or in the field opposite

Arrival by airplane

The nearest airport to the location is Tours Val de Loire Airport (TUF).

Arrival by train

You can take the Eurostar to Paris and then, you can cross Paris and pick a train from Montparnasse to Le Mans, where Secret Garden can arrange a taxi pick-up for 75 EUR per person return, and if there are more than two people arriving at the same time, Secret Garden will re-calculate the price per person. Also, you can take the local bus to Brives.

Arrival by ferry

Secret Garden can be reached by ferry from Calais, Le Havre, and Caen. The Eurotunnel offers cheap off-peak bookings and there are many ferry providers travelling to French ports.


  • Brives bus station - 10 minutes
  • Caen, 220 miles - 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Calais, 300 miles - 5 hours
  • Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) - 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Le Havre, 250 miles - 3 hours
  • Le Mans - 40 minutes
  • Tours Val de Loire Airport (TUF) - 45 minutes
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