Learn to Cook in Normandy | Perfect French cooking experience

Chef Spencer Richards from the UK spent years taking holidays in Normandy with this family. He loved the culture and the history and especially the fabulous gastronomy of the northern French region. Eventually he couldn’t resist the lure of Normandy any more. He moved to St Hilaire Du Harcouet, Manche, and set up Normandy Cooking Days – a fabulous foodie cooking experience, and he renovated an ancient boulangerie and turned it into a cosy gite.

Normandy Cooking Days

“Food is such a valuable part of life in France” says Chef Spence “and here in St Hilaire Du Harcouet we’re blessed with a fabulous street market and great artisanal bakers, award winning butcher’s, grocers and other wonderful shops”.

Normandy Cooking Days offers the chance to experience the typically French and specifically Norman way of cooking. “You can’t simply find it on a holiday, you have to live it” enthuses Chef Spence and having done just that, he loves to share what he’s learned. A one day cooking experience is great fun and utterly delicious.  Buying some of the best produce in the world, direct from farmers and producers “so much pride goes into it” he says, makes cooking here exhilarating and very special.

There are no rushed lunch hours, the French way is to prepare something delectable and then to have the time to truly savour it. That’s exactly what Normandy Cooking Days offers. In the morning you’ll shop at the market and the shops in the town. In Chef Spence’s kitchen you’ll learn how to make classic French dishes with your fresh produce – perhaps Moules Marinière, Coq au Vin, Normandy apple tart or Crème Brulée.

You can cook as an individual, a couple, as a group or family, and if you’re cooking as an individual, why not invite your family to join you for dinner to enjoy the delicious meal you’ve prepared. Chef Spence will provide scrumptious cheese, local cider and Calavados (apple brandy) .

Delectable Normandy style cooking

Normandy cooking is rich and tasty and the local philosophy is “if it doesn’t grow near you, don’t use it”. Apples are a firm favourite in Normandy” shares Chef Spence “apple Jam for breakfast with apple Juice. Endives with a vinaigrette of apple cider vinegar and vegetable oil, but no mustard as that is from Dijon! Squid flambéed in Calvados (distilled apple juice) at dinner, apple tart for dessert”.

Butter and cream are also popular in the rich dishes of Normandy “Now I’m going to start an argument here, Moules Marinière in England has cream in it, but if you add cream that’s really Moules Normandy. Same goes for chicken or pork sauces, apples and cream all the way!”

“For me” says Chef Spence “You simply can’t beat oysters, with Normandy Pork to follow and something with apples and fresh farm cream for dessert – that’s so Norman”. Normandy cuisine is not complicated, but, emphasizes this friendly chef on his cooking course, that doesn’t mean it’s simple. “It’s not fussy” and seasonal ingredients are key.

Join a cooking course in Normandy

Join Chef Spence for a day or more, and discover the amazing cuisine of Normandy in a fun and friendly professional kitchen where you’ll learn French cooking techniques and skills. St Hilaire Du Harcouetwhere the courses are held weekly from Tuesday to Friday, is close to the wonderful Mont Saint Michel, the time warp town of Fougères and the lovely seaside town of Granville, in the heart of Normandy.

Details for cookery courses: NormandyCookingDays
Details for gite: The Bijou Bakery
Chef Spence’s recipe for Normandy Pork Casserole

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