Learn to cook à la normande

Any trip to Normandy involves hearty drinking and eating because there is just so much good local fare to enjoy. A novel way of making the most of the best Normandy has on offer, is to actually cook the food yourself in situ and take home some local recipes with you. Here are a few cooking schools that come highly recommended:

Wilde Kitchen – Cotentin Peninsula

I first met Sinéad Allart (née Wilde) when we both worked as English teachers for the local Chamber of Commerce, and we have been friendly ever since. Sinéad oozes fun and her enthusiasm for the area around where she lives is catching. As well as classes in cooking typical dishes like poulet Vallée d’Auge and teurgoule – respectively, chicken with cream and apples, and the Norman version of rice pudding – Sinéad’s cooking courses include trips to the local market. Children are also very welcome and there is on-site accommodation available in a tastefully-converted barn and a self-catering apartment. wildekitchen.net

La Cuisine de Brigitte – Pays d’Auge

The Pays d’Auge, in the heart of the Norman countryside, is best known for its apple orchards and dairy cows. It is in this bucolic setting that Brigitte Dumant welcomes trainee chefs to her longère, a typical long building, and her state-of-the-art kitchen to tackle some local recipes with her expert guidance. Brigitte started out offering French cooking classes to Americans in Paris some ten years ago but decided to move her lessons to her home in Normandy where the quality of the local food and the beautiful surroundings are unbeatable. There is a calendar of suggested workshops with easy, authentic recipes for you to join, but Brigitte is also happy to organise bespoke courses from four participants upwards, including vegan menus. And of course, at the end of the workshop you get to sit down and enjoy what you have cooked! lacuisinedebrigitte.com

Le Manoir du Lys – Bagnoles-de-l’Orne

From the end of September to early November, Franck Quinton, Michelin-starred chef, offers a variety of cooking experiences with freshly-picked  mushrooms as the key ingredient. The Manoir du Lys is a sumptious four-star hotel in the Andaine forest just outside the elegant spa town of Bagnoles-de-l’Orne. This is the perfect place to take a well-deserved break and get some hands-on cooking experience. There are a variety of cooking options available, ranging from a mushroom picking excursion with a local mycologist (that’s mushroom expert to you and me) to a whole mushroom-themed weekend! Book early to avoid disappointment. manoir-du-lys.com/theme-based-stays

For more information on food and drink in Normandy, visit the Normandy Tourist Board website.


Cover photo © Manoir du Lys  | Text: Alison Weatherhead



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