Three day course
Included in the three day programme
- Four nights bed and breakfast
- Three cooking classes with recipé folders and tasting meals
- One restaurant lunch (formule du midi – starter, main course and dessert)
- All excursions – market visit, ciderie, épicerie fine
Please note that while all of the below is included, nothing is written in stone. We’re flexible! Please feel free to contact us to arrange a tailor made course to suit your requirements.
Sunday afternoon arrival at La Blonderie. Time to relax a little and explore your surroundings.
A first taste of Normandy follows with a Sunday evening supper – a Norman cheeseboard with salad, crusty bread, dessert, and wine and/or some locally produced organic cider. Whle you enjoy your food you’ll also meet with your fellow ‘cooks’ – a perfect introduction to the course.
Monday 8.00 am Continental Breakfast of croissants, bread, cakes, homemade jams and jellies, artisanal apple juice, cereals, fruit and youghurt.
9.00 am Off to Bricquebec, a beautiful medieval town, for the weekly market where we’ll absorb the ambience, pick up some fresh produce for our lunch and sample whatever we’re offered before our first cookery session.
10.30a.m – Cookery class
1.30p.m – Lunch at La Blonderie
3.30/4p.m – 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 (weather permitting) we sample the various ciders, calvados, pommeau and apple juice.
Evening free – restaurant recommendations and reservations are made for you where necessary.
9.00am Continental breakfast
10.30am Cookery class # 2 in Sinéad’s Wilde Kitchen. Together we prepare a three course lunch which is enjoyed afterwards washed down with a glass of local, organic cider or wine.
4 p.m – Shopping trip 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 (fine food store) Biscuits <hich made the Burnouf family fortune may be sampled over a cup of tea/coffee.
Dinner suggestion – reservations made where necessary.
9.00 am Continental Breakfast
10 am Food preparation – Serious food prepartaion is required for the final cookery (and history) class. Vegetables will be prepared, pork loin may be prepared into Orloff, starters discussed and decided upon and whatever else is necessary for the unique foodie adventure which follows.
12.30 – 2.30 Lunch in local restaurant (formule du midi)
3.00 pm – The afternoon is a great treat for lovers of history, terroir and food.
Built in 1789 – the year of the French Revolution – our boulangerie, an outhouse in the grounds of our farmhouse, would have been the place where farm workers met to prepare and and bake a batch of loaves once a fortnight or so, on the stone floor of the oven as well as the traditional Norman dessert – teurgoule.
Together, we heat the bread oven with a wood fire and cook our evening meal.
7.00 pm Apéritifs, dinner and drinks
All good things must come to end alas, so after breakfast we’ll say our goodbyes. You’ll leave laden with
recipes, tips and more importantly perhaps, an understanding of life in rural Normandy!
QANTAS DECEMBER 2011
Publicity director HarperCollins
WILDE KITCHEN at La Blonderie, Benoistville in Normandy. It is hosted by irrepressible Irishwoman Sinéad Wilde [who has lived in Normandy with her French husband for 18 years]. Nearby Cap de la Hague (“the chin”) is an unspoilt coastline with surfing, sailing and horseriding. It’s everything you expect from the French countryside.
Duration? Four days. Sinéad tailors the classes to suit your schedule. We arrived on Saturday, eating at a local restaurant that night, before a 10am start the following day to cook a Sunday lunch of aubergine timbale with goat’s cheese, cockerel Vallée d’Auge, cheese and salad, and finished with a strawberry meringue roulade.
School specialty? Sinéad teaches Normandy- style cooking with local ingredients such
as cider, Calvados [an apple brandy], apples and cream. We made teurgoule, which is Norman patois for rice pudding. It is a dish traditionally made in a bread oven as it cools down after a bread-making session – French villagers would take their teurgoules to the boulanger, to be cooked all together. ❯
Did it live up to its promise? Yes. Sinéad makes it really fun and relaxed. She was flexible, too. One morning was so glorious that she altered the menu and we styled a picnic to take to a local beauty spot. Drawbacks? Too much food: four courses per meal. After the first day we learned to take smaller portions and go for a brisk country walk afterwards (well, some snoozed).
Were you a better cook in an exotic location? It’s good to cook away from home and try new things. I would have never cooked blood sausage or snails, or tried gizzards. Sadly, “gizzard” doesn’t sound any better in French, either, but I did eat some. I’m going to spend the next six months working out how to bring some special local Norman cider into the country. It was delicious.
Have you made the dishes again? We got everyone together on Bastille Day, July 14, to reminisce and cook our favourites again.
Would you go again? In a heartbeat. Next time we’d stay longer and book the large two-bedroom house on-site with friends.