About the Wilde Kitchen
Irish-born Sinéad, Belgian-born Philippe and their two French-born daughters, Ellen and Kate opened the doors of their farmhouse kitchen in 2006 to fellow food enthusiasts, amateur cooks and curious travellers. Sinéad’s idea is to share her experience and knowledge of french food – in a country where food is like a national sport and the weekly market a lively meeting place, where there is great pride in the nation’s produce, where time is taken to choose, buy and prepare meals, where eating is a social activity, where fresh, well-prepared food are served on a decorated table and shared with family and friends – l’art de vivre à la française.
Cooking is FUN and families are welcome!
Kids can cook – bring them along on a cookery course. We’ll do everything we can to meet their needs as well as yours. Cooking with children is a fun way to bond while giving them an understanding of where food comes from.
They’ll love the markets, the 18th century boulangerie (‘better than Eurodisney’ according to one junior ‘chef’) not to mention the actual hands-on, fun and informative cookery classes.
What is traditional Norman food?
Normandy’s 600km coastline provides tons of fresh seafood, year round. Scallops in the winter, mussels in the summer and whelks, oysters in abundance, seafood lovers will regale themselves. Oysters are classified, like cheeses and wines, with their own AOC (Controlled Origin Name)
Lush green pastures of the Normandy countryside makes ideal grazing for dairy herds and cattle.Meat lovers will want to try the succulent salt-marsh lamb, agneau pré-salé, a Normandy specialty due to grazing on the sand dunes, as well as traditional black pudding, veal, pork and poultry.
Cheese-lovers will be in heaven on earth with Normandy’s famous creamy cheeses – Camembert, Livarot, Neufchâtel and Pont l’Évêque are just some of Normandy’s famous cheeses. The apple orchards give delicious fruit for Cider, another famous product of Normandy, traditionally drunk with meals. Shots of Calvados, (apple brandy) are sometimes served at the end as a digestive.
Whether eaten as a dessert, or as a treat with afternoon tea, many of Normandy’s sweet dishes are based on apples, such as the delicious apple tart. Another Norman speciality is the milky rice pudding or “Teurgoule” made with creamy local products.
Where are we located?
The Wilde Kitchen is located in the Cotentin Peninsula, lower Normandy, only 5 kms from sandy beaches, 3 kms from the nearest market town, Les Pieux, and 20kms from the ferry port of Cherbourg. We’re 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.
Stay with us
A barn conversion across the garden from the mainhouse provides comfortable accomodation for guests. Choose from what was once –
- the maid’s quarters, La Chambre de Bonne, with its standard double bed, single bed in mezzanine area and ensuite with tub
- the stables, La Porte Bleue, double/twin room with kitchenette and ensuite with tub
- the hay loft, Le Fenil, with its two twin/double room, both ensuite – perfect for groups of four.
Tell us what you’d like! We run one day, three day and six day courses as well as tailor-made courses to suit your needs and your travel schedule. Please note that all classes are held in english. However, should practising french be a priority, guests will find lots of opportunities to do so.
Non-cooking guests are also welcome to stay. The area has lots to offer in terms of visits, history and activities. They are, of course, welcome to join us for after-class meals and/excursions.
Irish-born Sinéad 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 (French-born Ellen and Kate), renovate old houses, fight with local builders, ride a horse and sing a little opera!
She also studied tourism with particular emphasis on World War 2 and the Normandy Landings and trained as a tour guide for the 50th celebration of D-Day in 1994, the year after her arrival in France.
Her years of experience in Normandy will ensure a unique experience for the curious traveller on many fronts.
Getting to the Wilde Kitchen
Normandy is just across the English Channel and is an easy weekend destination from England. Visitors have a choice of transportation to get to Normandy – by air, sea, train or road.
For international visitors flying into Paris, most of the major towns in Normandy are connected by rail. Getting from Paris to Normandy is easy on the SNCF from Gare Saint Lazare
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. We recommend Hertz for their flexibility.
Please feel free to contact Sinéad for help on getting to the Wilde Kitchen.
From the UK