5 Days Normandy Cooking Holidays in France

  • La Blonderie, 50340 Benoistville, Normandy, France

Fun 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.

Highlights

  • 3 informative hands-on cooking classes
  • Recipe folders and after-class tasting meals
  • 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
  • Daily breakfast
  • 4 days with instruction
  • English
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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.

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 of a neighboring farm.

Day one, Sunday

You will arrive at La Blonderie. It is 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’ll also meet with your fellow “cooks" and have a perfect introduction to the cooking classes.

Day two, Monday

You will start your day at 8:00 a.m. with a continental breakfast of croissants, bread, cakes, homemade jams and jellies, artisanal apple juice, cereals, fruit, and yoghurt. At 9:00 a.m., you will proceed to go 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 is offered before your first cookery session.

At 10:30 a.m., you will begin with your first cookery session followed by lunch at 1:30 p.m. At 4:30 p.m., you will go on a 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 and a walk up to the orchards if the weather permits, you will be provided with various ciders, calvados, pommeau, and apple juice. You will have your evening free. Restaurant recommendations and reservations will be made for you, where necessary.

Day three, Tuesday

You will start your day ta 9:00 a.m. and you will enjoy a continental breakfast. At 10:30 a.m., you will go on your second cookery class in Sinéad’s Wilde Kitchen. Together, you will prepare a three-course lunch which will be enjoyed afterwards. Complete it with a glass of local, organic cider, or wine.

At 3:30 p.n., a siesta may be welcome or a chance to visit 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 four, Wednesday

You will start your day at 8:00 a.m. and enjoy a continental breakfast. At 9:00 a.m., you will prepare the ingredients for your final cookery and history class. You will start with preparing the vegetables.

Lamb will also be prepared for an afternoon of slow cooking in the bake house oven or pork loin is prepared into Orloff. Starters will be discussed and decided upon and whatever else is necessary for the unique foodie adventure which follows.

At 12:30 a.m., you will have lunch at the local restaurant Formule du Midi. At 2:30 p.m., you will go on another excursion. Bread will also be baked and a full meal is prepared and cooked in an authentic post-revolution (1789) boulangerie oven or else known as bread oven Chez François at La Ferme Auberge.

While waiting for bread to rise and the food to cook, François 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, terror, and food! At 7:00 p.m., you will have apéritifs with Francois and dinner will be served by 8:00 p.m..

Day five, Thurday

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!

  • Visit to a 18th century boulangerie to bake bread and cook a full meal in an old bakehouse
  • Visit to an epicerie - a fine grocery store
  • Visit to an organic cider farm and cider tasting
  • Visit to farmer’s market
  • Sinead Wilde Allart

    Irish-born Sinead Wilde Allart studied Home Economics and taught it for a few years before meeting Belgian-born Philippe and moving with him to France. Her time in France has enabled her to add to her culinary repertoire enormously while learning how to speak French, raise chickens and daughters, renovate old houses, fight with local builders, ride a horse, and sing a little opera. Sinead opened the doors of her farmhouse kitchen in 2006. Sineads idea is to share l'art de vivre à la française.

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
Activities
  • Cooking classes
  • Horse riding / rental nearby
  • Shopping nearby
General
  • Beach nearby
  • Dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant nearby
Services
  • ATM / banking nearby
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Local market
  • Parking lot

During this holiday, you will be served with daily breakfasts. 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 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.

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.

  • 3 after-class tasting meals
  • 3 hands-on fun cookery classes
  • 4 nights accommodation
  • Aperitifs before meals
  • Daily breakfasts
  • Linen, towels, and aprons during your stay
  • Organic cider farm and cider tasting
  • Recipe sheets
  • Visits to farmer’s market, 18th century boulangerie, and fine grocery store
  • Additional activities, excursions, and services
  • Additional meals and drinks
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Transport
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 2 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Testimonials

  • Review by Ricarda
    10 out of 10

    "Remembering the awesome cooking experience in February, I ordered the tart rings today to be able to reproduce the lovely pastry we had made during the cooking class with you. The time we've spent exploring the French kitchen is still vividly in our minds and frequently shared. We highly recommend taking one of the offered courses - it's been fun and great food!bThanks again, Sinead, for sharing your kitchen and hospitality with us."

    Wilde Kitchen Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Cheryl from Indiana
    10 out of 10

    "It was like walking into your dream kitchen, garden and dining area with a chef who obviously loves to teach and eat great food! My husband and I spent the day with Sinead, our chef, and four ladies from Australia and we had a delightful day with all of us studying the menu, preparing the many dishes and joyfully eating the spoils of our labors! Sinead is very open to share her ideas and opinions and open to hearing others'. It was delightful!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Scott
    10 out of 10

    "Well worth a day when visiting the Normandy area of France if you love great food, and want to see the countryside and want to shop in an authentic outdoor French market."

    Wilde Kitchen Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Andrew M.
    10 out of 10

    "We booked the one day cooking course with Sinead but decided to stay in her gite for 3 days to use as a base to explore Normandy. Couldn't recommend both the course and the gite - and Sinead's delightful company and Irish hospitality - more highly."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Susan O
    10 out of 10

    "Amazing! Wonderful atmosphere, location, and cookery. We had a great trip and would definitely do it again. We have invited Sinead to bring her kitchen to the U.S. for a benefit/charity event - can't wait"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler
    10 out of 10

    "My husband and I wanted to do a cooking class in northern France and, after a search, "Wilde Kitchen" popped up and looked promising. We arrived one September afternoon and Sinead was there to welcome us to a lovely gite, a self-contained apartment. Breakfast each morning consisted of delicious croissants and baguettes, home made jams, juice and coffee - a perfect leisurely start to the day. Sinead is very knowledgeable about the area and gave us great recommendations for places to see and restaurants to visit, including an amazing Michelin rated one, "Le P'tit Bourg"."

    "On the morning of the cooking class we set off for the market in the main town. Sinead introduced us to some of her favourite stallholders and explained many foods we were unfamiliar with. After purchasing ingredients we returned to the main house for our cooking class in a spectacular dream kitchen. Under Sinead's expert guidance we cooked a delicious three-course meal, gathering many suggestions and valuable tips along the way. I have overcome my fear of Creme Anglaise and have even managed to reproduce it at home, including the chocolate fondants! We greatly enjoyed our stay in La Blonderie and the cooking class enhanced the whole experience. Thank you to Sinead and her family for making us feel so welcome and making our holiday in northern France really memorable! We hope to return one day soon."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from from USA
    10 out of 10

    "For four days, we ate and cooked and laughed and learned all kinds of things. Sinad and her family were wonderful hosts. I was traveling solo, and she helped me weeks before I arrived, answering emails and making me feel welcome.Sinad customizes the class as she gets to know you, targeting your interests and introducing you to Normandy cuisine and culture. Stay as long as you can! It is an amazing experience!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Ana Laura from France
    10 out of 10

    "My mother and I passed a 3 day course at Wilde Kitchen. The cooking classes were great and we learned a lot, Sinad and her family were amazing hosts and we had an excellent stay at La Blonderie. Definitely a holiday we won't forget!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Claire L from United States
    10 out of 10

    "My husband and I spent five fabulous days the Wilde Kitchen cooking, eating, and laughing. Sinad is a wonderful teacher and an accomplished cook, the cooking classes at the Wilde Kitchen and staying at La Blonderie was the highlight of our trip to France! We learned a lot and were exposed to the charming local culture and fabulous cuisine.If you want to go to a cooking school in France, this is the place to go. In the near future, we hope to return to the Wilde Kitchen with our entire family for cooking classes. My only regret is that we didn't plan to stay longer. Be sure to extend your trip so you have time to visit the local sites."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Niamh O'Toole
    10 out of 10

    "La blonderie is a wonderful and magical place, not to mention Sinead & co who make the entire experience so unique - a totally unforgettable experience and some serious good food (and fun!) to be had!"

    Wilde Kitchen Facebook page, edited

  • Review by a traveler from United States
    10 out of 10

    "This was one of the best places we stayed during our entire trip! Its a great place; clean, perfect home away from home. Sinead was an amazing cook and teacher and the food was fantastic!"

    TripAdvisor, edited

Normandy, France

The Wilde Kitchen is where you'll learn to cook with Sinéad the French way, where the best of Norman cuisine is always on the menu during your cooking holiday.

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5 days / 4 nights

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