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Discover French country cooking in the Cherbourg Peninsula, Normandy. A warm welcome awaits you as Irish-born Sinead and Belgian-born Philippe, your bi-lingual hosts, pride themselves on the quality of their welcome offering accommodation in the grounds of their beautifully-renovated 18th century farm. Experience lart de vivre a la franaise. Try new recipes in the relaxed ambiance of Sinead's Wilde Kitchen. Enjoy a trip to the local farmers market. Learn about authentic French cooking. Enjoy the fruits of your labors. Families are welcome!
Located in converted barns in what once were the domestic living areas and hay lofts, across the garden from La Blonderie, the main house, our guest rooms are comfortable and attractively decorated, each with its own style. All have tea and coffee-making facilities, hairdryers, ample parking and free internet access. La Blonderie can accommodate up to eight people comfortably in our renovated guest rooms.
Renovated in 2009, our self-catering apartment, Le Fenil, meaning hay loft, has two bedrooms, both en suite, a large living area and a deck with great views over the lush Norman countryside. This apartment is perfect for groups of four.
La Porte Bleue (The Blue Door) situated on the ground floor has its own front door and patio area. Once a stable for Java, our Lusitanian horse, and in earlier times a sleeping area for staff, La Porte Bleue was renovated in 2011 and a kitchenette added in 2013.
The romantic Maids Quarters is located on the first floor, also with its own front door at the top of an outside granite stairs, typical of the area, was renovated in 2010. It has a double bed and en suite bathroom as well as a mezzanine area with a single bed little house on the Prairie may well spring to mind! While smaller than the other rooms, it has a certain charm and coziness about it.
Afternoon arrival at La Blonderie.
Time to relax a little and explore your surroundings.
A first taste of Normandy follows for Sunday night supper in the form of a Norman cheeseboard with salad, crusty bread, pastries, and wine or some locally produced organic cider.
While you enjoy your food, you will also meet with your fellow cooks a perfect introduction to the course.
08:00 Continental breakfast of croissants, bread, cakes, homemade jams and jellies, artisanal apple juice, cereals, fruit and yogurt.
09:00 Off to Bricquebec, a beautiful medieval town, for the weekly market where well absorb the ambiance, pick up some fresh produce for our lunch and sample whatever were offered before our first cookery session.
15:30 Visit to Le Pre 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 and a walk up to the orchards (weather permitting), you will sample the various ciders, calvados, pommeau and apple juice.
Evening - free time.
Restaurant recommendations and reservations are made for you when necessary.
09:00 Continental breakfast
10:30 Serious food preparation is required for the afternoon cookery class. A unique foodie adventure awaits.
A full meal is prepared and cooked in an authentic post-revolution (1789) boulangerie oven (bread oven) chez Franois at La Ferme Auberge.
14:00 Lunch in local restaurant (formule du midi).
15:00 A full meal is prepared and cooked in an authentic post-revolution (1789) boulangerie oven (bread oven) chez Franois at La Ferme Auberge.
While waiting for bread to rise and the food to cook, Franois will give a talk on the history of the boulangerie and provide lots of anecdotes for a fun-filled, educational afternoon over a glass of his homemade apple juice or cider a serious treat for lovers of history, terroir and food.
From the Norman invasion of England in 1066 to the D-Day landings of 1944, Normandy has long played an outsized role in European history. This rich and often brutal past is brought vividly to life by the spectacular island monastery of Mont St-Michel; the Bayeux Tapestry, world-famous for its cartoon scenes of 11th-century life; and the cemeteries and memorials along the D-Day beaches, places of solemn pilgrimage.
Lower-profile charms include a variety of dramatic coastal landscapes, lots of pebbly beaches, some of Frances finest museums, quiet pastoral villages and architectural gems ranging from Rouens medieval old city home of Monets favourite cathedral to the maritime charms of Honfleur to the striking postwar modernism of Le Havre. Camembert, apples, cider, cream-rich cuisine and the very freshest fish and seafood provide further reasons to visit this accessible and beautiful region of France.
Only 44 kilometers from Sainte Mre Eglise, immortalized in the movie The Longest Day, 90 kilometers from Omaha Beach and the US Cemetary, and 139 kilometers from Pegasus Bridge, were perfectly located for exploring Normandy with its World War Two museums, beaches, monuments and much more.
Le Mont Saint Michel, the second most visited tourist spot in France (the Eiffel Tower is the first) is a mere 146 kilometers from us along the spectacular coastal road, known locally as la touristique. While Bayeux, famous for its almost 1000-year old, world-famous tapestry, depicting the defeat of England by William at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, is only 99 kilometers away all potential day-trips.
Sinead, trained as a local tour guide, will help set you off in the right direction on your days off armed with maps and itineraries. Shell also book restaurants, where necessary, ensuring that your time in Normandy is insightful and fun. For those of you who prefer to explore locally, Le Cap de La Hague and Le Val de Saire with their breathtaking beauty are only a stones throw away.
Guests are encouraged to take a train from Paris to Cherbourg and rent a car from there. All the major car rental companies operate in Cherbourg.