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5 Days Cooking Holidays in Normandy, France

La Blonderie, 50340 Benoistville, Normandy, France

French Cooking Vacations Normandy

Discover french country cooking in the Cherbourg Peninsula, lower Normandy. Experience l’art de vivre à la française and treat yourself to a cooking holiday. Try new recipes, make new friends, share some time in the relaxed ambiance of Sinéad’s Wilde kitchen. Learn in a country where food is like a national sport and the weekly market is a lively meeting place as well as where there is great pride in the nation’s produce.

Meet the instructors

Sinead
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Highlights

  • Recipe folders and after-class tasting meals
  • 3 fun, hands on, informative cooking classes
  • Welcome supper of Normandy cheeses, wine, dessert, breads etc.
  • Visits to farmer’s market, 18th century boulangerie, and fine grocery store
  • Organic cider farm and cider tasting
  • 4 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


3 days with instruction
The maximum participants in the group is 6
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
17:00
Check-out Time:
11:00

Facilities

  • Dining area
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant
  • Smoke-free property
  • Terrace
  • ATM / banking
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Internet access
  • Parking lot

During this cooking vacation, you will stay in a La Blonderie, a barn conversion across the garden from the main house which provides comfortable accommodation for guests with the option of double room, twin room, or a triple room.

Choose from what was once the maid’s quarters, La chambre de la bonne, with its standard double bed, single bed in mezzanine area and en-suite with tub the stables, La porte bleue, a double or twin room with kitchenette and en-suite with tub the hay loft, or Le fenil, with its two twin or double room, both en-suite which makes it perfect for groups of four.

The accommodation has tea and coffee-making facilities, hairdryers, ample parking, and free internet access. A perfect base for exploring the delights of Normandy, it is highly recommended for the guests to stay for the course, alternating cookery days with days off to visit the area or simply to enjoy the peace and quiet of La Blonderie.

Most guests have become acquainted with three-legged Tom, the cat, and Java the mare. Proud to be included in the Lonely Planet 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 and chosen among the best 200 guesthouses in France in 2013 by Figaro Magazine, La Blonderie can accommodate up to eight people comfortably in the renovated guest rooms.

Program

Under the enticing name of the Wilde Kitchen, Irish expat Sinéad Allart (née Wilde) offers gourmet breaks in the countryside south-west of Cherbourg, as well as classes in the succulent art of cooking traditional dishes like poulet Vallée d’Auge and teurgoule, respectively, chicken with cream, and apples, and the Norman version of rice pudding.

The holidays include outings to local markets and restaurants. You also get to visit an organic cider press and cook a full meal in the centuries-old bread oven on the grounds of La Blonderie

Day 1

  • Late afternoon/early evening arrival at La Blonderie. Time to relax a little and explore your surroundings.
  • A first taste of Normandy follows in the form of a cheese and wine supper, served with salad, crusty bread, pastries, and wine or some locally produced organic cider. While you enjoy your food, you’ll also meet with your fellow “cooks" and have a perfect introduction to the cooking classes.

Day 2

  • 8am Continental breakfast
  • 8:45am Shopping trip to Bricquebec, a beautiful medieval town, for the weekly market, where you’ll absorb the ambiance, pick up some fresh produce for lunch and sample, whatever you're offered.
  • 10:30am Cookery class#1
  • After-class lunch
  • 3:30pm Visit to Le Père Mahieu Ciderie where the best of Normandy’s organic apples are transformed into the most delicious drinks in the forms of cider, pommeau, calvados, and apple juice.
  • After a guided tour of the distillery you will sample the various ciders, calvados, pommeau, and apple juice.
  • Evening free. Restaurant recommendations and reservations will be made, where necessary.

Day 3

  • 9am Continental breakfast
  • 10:30 Cookery class #2. Together, you will prepare a three-course lunch which will be enjoyed afterwards.
  • At 3:30pm Visit to La Maison du Biscuit where keen shoppers are spoilt for choice. Soaps, souvenirs, cups and saucers, biscuits and cakes, herbs and spices, whiskeys and ciders, and lots more are on offer in this fabulous épicerie fine or else known as fine food store.
  • Biscuits, which made the Burnouf family fortune may be sampled over a cup of tea or coffee.
  • Restaurant recommendations and reservations will be made for you where necessary.

Day 4

  • 9am Continental breakfast
  • 10am Food preparation for an afternoon in the post revolution bakehouse. Built in 1789, the year of the French Revolution, renovated in 2019 and containing a bread oven, this unique foodie experience brings guests back to 18th century rural France when the wood fired oven would be lit and bread baked for the week to come.
  • Starters will be discussed and decided upon and whatever else is necessary for the unique foodie adventure which follows.
  • 12:30pm Lunch in a local restaurant
  • 2pm Time to light the oven, bake the bread and cook the evening meal. A serious treat for lovers of history, terror, and food!
  • 7pm Apéritifs and dinner

Day 5

  • All good things must come to end alas, so after breakfast, you will say your goodbyes. You’ll leave laden with recipes, tips and more importantly perhaps, an understanding of life in rural Normandy!

Included excursions

Visit to La Maison du Biscuit, fine grocery store

Visit to an organic cider farm and cider tasting

Visit to farmer’s market

Instructors

Sinead Wilde Allart

Location

Situated in the northwest of France, Normandy is a region blessed with stunning coastlines, windswept beaches, and lush pastoral land. The quintessential image of Normandy is of beautiful landscape, green pastures dotted with brown and white Norman cows, apple orchards, calvados, good food, and plenty of beautiful creamy cheeses.

Normandy is also steeped in history, starting from the time of the Vikings to William the Conqueror to the Impressionist painters and to World War II, there is much to appeal to the visitor here.

The Wilde Kitchen is located in the Cotentin Peninsula, lower Normandy, only five kilometers from sandy beaches, three kilometers from the nearest market town, Les Pieux, and 20 kilometers from the ferry port of Cherbourg.

The Wilde Kitchen is also located off the beaten track in the small Norman village of Benoistville, in the grounds of an 18th century farm, La Blonderie, which Sinéad and Philippe began restoring in 2000. Peace and tranquility is definitely guaranteed here!

Nearby places

  • Bayeux - 1 hour
  • Cap de La Hague - 15 minutes
  • Channel Island of Guernsey - 1 hour
  • Ferry Port of Cherbourg, 20 kilometers
  • Le Mont St Michel - 2 hours
  • Les Pieux Market, 3 kilometers
  • Omaha beach the American Cemetery - 75 minutes
  • Pegasus Bridge, 139 kilometers

Food

Bed and breakfast included in the package. During the course, you will prepare three full meals including aperitifs, starters, mains, and desserts. In-season, locally sourced ingredients are always included and over the three days you will prepare soups or salads, poultry, fish and seafood, and pork, lamb, or beef, tarts, and much more giving guests a real insight into French country cooking.

Normandy's cheese board is one of the most impressive in France and contains the best-known types of cheeses outside its local area. Its most famous cheese is Camembert which comes from the village of the same name near Vimoutiers, but you can also try Neufchâtel, produced in a variety of different shapes and sizes, Pont-L'Evêque and Livarot.

Cheese in France usually served between the main course and dessert though it has been said by past guests who've felt that too much is eaten at every meal! As a result, you will be served with a welcome platter of cheese and wine on the evening of your arrival. Special dietary requirements are also available upon request.

The 600 kilometers coastline provides an abundance of fresh seafood. The lush green pastures of the Normandy countryside makes ideal grazing for dairy herds and cattle, and the apple orchards give delicious fruit that is used to make a variety of tasty drinks.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Normandy’s coastline makes it an ideal place for driving or cycling holidays. It is a very popular holiday region. The coastline is dotted with memorials, cemeteries and museums which remind of the famous Normandy landings in WWII. The Battle of Normandy, the D-Day Landing beaches and the role that Normandy played continue to be of huge interest for visitors with many coming on battlefields tours.

The Wilde Kitchen is perfectly located for exploring Normandy with its World War II museums, beaches, monuments, and much more while Bayeux is renowned for its almost 1000-year old, world-famous tapestry. The tapestry of Queen Mathilda, depicting the defeat of England by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, is only 99 kilometers away. These are all potential day-trips.

Many visitors also come to Normandy to visit Le Mont-St-Michel, a mere 146 kilometers from La Blonderie along the spectacular coastal road, known locally as ‘"la touristique." Le Mont Saint Michel is one of the most enchanting sights in France and is the second most visited tourist spot in France. Once a place of pilgrimage, Mont-St-Michel became a prison after the French Revolution, but today it is a national monument and a much sought after tourist attraction.

Cherbourg, Octeville, the largest city in the department of La Manche, is a key location for more than 50 of the most prestigious sailing events. Cherbourg also has the largest aquarium in Europe at La Cité de la Mer as well as Le Redoutable, the largest submarine open to the public in the world, launched in Cherbourg in 1967 by General de Gaulle.

Besides that, Sinéad, trained as a local tour guide, will help set you off in the right direction on your days off armed with maps and itineraries. She’ll also book restaurants, where necessary, ensuring that your time in Normandy is insightful and fun.

For those of you who prefer to explore locally such as to Le Cap de La Hague and Le Val de Saire, their breathtaking beauties are only a stone’s throw away. Garden lovers generally adore this fabulous peninsula with its amazing hydrangeas, fuchsias, and roses, to name but a few.

What's included

  • 4 nights on bed & breakfast basis
  • Cheese and wine arrival supper
  • 3 hands-on, fun and informative cookery classes
  • 3 after-class tasting meals
  • 1 restaurant lunch
  • Organic cider farm and cider tasting
  • Visit to farmer’s market
  • Visit to fine grocery store

What's not included

  • Additional activities, excursions, and services
  • Additional meals and drinks
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Transport

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 21 days before arrival.

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5 days / 4 nights
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Availability

Courses are available year round on demand and may be talior-made to suit your requirements (longer/shorter/child-friendly/special diet etc.). Ideal arrival days are Sunday evenings or Tuesdays evenings because of the visit of local farmer’s market. 

This holiday requires a minimum of 2 participants.

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