cooking holiday or cooking vacation
. . . take a culinary or cooking tour to delight the senses
 
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   Cooking Holiday in France  
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THE SECRET GARDEN FRANCE
. . . for fun cooking holidays in France

Welcome to The SecretGarden-France, where you will come and enjoy a wonderful cooking holiday tailored to your skills and experience. Rinus and Lesley (Chef and teacher) Woermeijer welcome you to join them in their beautiful old farmhouse, dating from 1834, and orchard, tucked away in the Loire Valley of France. You will work along side them during the day in the various cooking sessions, enjoying the food you have prepared and cooked during the day and spending your free time, enjoying the garden and orchard at L’Huilerie and the wonderful villages and countryside around.


You will have the opportunity to learn some key skills during your stay

  • Soups
  • Pastry, sweet and savory
  • Bread making
  • Sauces
  • Desserts

If you have any special requests for items to be included in the itinerary for the week, we will be happy to discuss the options.

You will leave the SecretGarden-France with skills and confidence to effortlessly produce family meals, intimate dinner and dinner parties.

Impress your family and friends with the skills you will learn and take away from The SecretGarden-France.

  COOKING COURSES IN FRANCE  

We have courses of various durations, to suit different needs and budgets from a short 1 day course to a weekend or even a week long course.

Please review the details of each course to see the most suitable format for you, if you have any particular needs or interests, please let us know – we are very flexible and will be happy to discuss options to adapt to suit where we can.

These holidays are ideal whether you are travelling alone or with a partner. We are happy to accommodate a non cooking friend/partner in your room, they can join you for lunch and dinner and they can go off enjoying the various sights and attractions of the area, cycling, golf, fishing or maybe a bit further afield to the many chateaus of the Loire Valley.

The optimum number of students attending the course is six, but sometimes we have fewer and occasionally we can have up to ten, as there maybe be people joining for 1, 2 or 3 days only.

The courses include :-

  • Bed and Continental breakfast

  • Lunch each day

  • Evening meal (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday) including wine

  • Tea, coffee and water

  • All ingredients and use of tools in the kitchen

  • Transport to farmers market and wine tasting events (when organised)

  • Recipe folder with the menus and recipes you have prepared during the course

  • Free Internet/Wifi

THE 1 DAY COURSE DETAILS

Those joining us for a one day course will usually be joining part of an ongoing 3 day or 5 day course. You will arrive for the day in time for breakfast, and stay with us for lunch and dinner, enjoying the results of your day’s work.

You should plan to join the others for breakfast which is served most days between 7.30 and 8.30 am, we will meet in the kitchen to start the day at 9am.

The format of the sessions is that mornings we cook for lunch and prep for the evening meal. We usually stop for lunch between 12.30 and 2pm for lunch and a well earned break, then back to the kitchen to continue cooking for the evening meal finishing between 5-5.30pm. There is then some free time until 7pm when we head back to the kitchen to complete any work for the evening meal and then plate up and enjoy your  hard work and food of the day.

THE 3 DAY COURSE DETAILS

DAY 1

Aim to arrive at The SecretGarden-France between 2 and 4 pm, allowing you time to settle into your room and relax before joining the other guests for welcome drink and evening meal that will be prepared for you by Lesley (Chef). Over dinner we will discuss the plan for the next couple of days, and what you are all hoping to achieve from the course.

DAY 2

Continental breakfast will be available from 7.30 – 8.30 am, teaching starts in the kitchen at 9am. We will start with some basic kitchen rules and etiquette, hygiene, etc  to ensure everyone has a good starting point for the course, and then start cooking for lunch and preparing for this evenings meal.

We will aim to have lunch between 12.30 and 2pm each day. This gives us a well earned break plus a chance to discuss the morning class and activities for the afternoon session.

We will start the afternoon session at 2 pm, continuing with the prep work for the evening meal. We will aim to complete the session around 5pm, where you will have some free time before meeting again in the kitchen to complete the menu and plate up ready to enjoy the food prepared during the day.

DAY 3

Continental breakfast will be available from 7.30 - 8.30 am, we will meet in the kitchen at 9am to start the sessions for the day, again we will prepare for lunch and evening meal.

DAY 4

Departure day, continental breakfast will be available from 7.30 – 8.30 am, then you will head back to your room to pack and ready for the off by 11am.

THE 5 DAY COURSE DETAILS

DAY 1 - Sunday

Arrival Day, aim to arrive between 2pm and 4pm, allowing you time to settle into your room before meeting up for welcome drinks and evening meal prepared for you by Lesley (chef), so you can be introduced to the others attending the course with you.

DAY 2 - Monday

Continental breakfast will be available between 7.30 and 8.30 am, before joining the group in the kitchen to start the day at 9am. We will start with some basic kitchen rules, etiquette and hygiene, etc, to ensure everyone has a good starting point for the course. This morning we will be cooking for lunch and preparing for this evenings meal.

We will aim to have lunch from 12.30 and we can discuss the morning class and activities for the afternoon session. You will enjoy good food and a chance to explore the house and garden before starting up again.

We will start the afternoon session at 2pm continuing with the prep work for the evening meal. We will aim to finish the session around 5.30 pm, where you will have some free time before meeting again at 7 pm in the kitchen to complete the menu and plate up the evening meal you have prepared during the day.

DAY 3 -Tuesday

Continental breakfast between 7.30-8.30am and start in the kitchen at 9am. Today we will be cooking in the morning for lunch and then you will have the afternoon and evening off to relax and enjoy the area.

If you have access to a car you can head off into the local towns, or maybe go a little further into Le Mans (40 mins North) or Tours (50 mins South) or the Lakes of Marcon.

You are also welcome to stay at L’Huilerie enjoying the gardens/orchard and SecretGarden terrace, reading/chilling out and you are more than welcome to use the facilities to cook your own evening meal, with the ingredients you can purchase in the local town/supermarket.

We also have a Japanese Sushi Chef who lives locally and we can arrange to have an afternoon/evening cooking session (at an additional cost) with the chef to take you through the fundamentals of sushi cooking and you can enjoy your authentic sushi meal in the evening. (Please ask for details if you are interested)

During the summer months we are happy to organise a visit to a local Wine Cave, where you will have the opportunity to walk through the caves and sample with the view to purchase local wines for you to enjoy back at L’Huilerie or take home.

DAY 4 - Wednesday

Continental breakfast will be available between 7.30 and 8.30, today we will be heading to the local market, where you will have the opportunity to wander through the many stalls enjoying the sights and smells of France. You many want to purchase some food that you will want to prepare on day 4 afternoon/evening as you will have time off to either enjoy the local restaurants or prepare your own menu. We will meet up for coffee before heading back to prepare lunch and get ready for the afternoon session.

Lunch will be between 12.30 – 2pm. We will meet again in the kitchen to prepare the evening meal again we will aim to finish the session around 5.30 pm, for some free time before meeting in the kitchen at 7pm to complete any outstanding work and plating up for the evening meal.

DAY 5 - Thursday

Continental breakfast between 7.30 – 8.30am, and starting at 9am in the kitchen for you last full day of cooking, we will cook your lunch and prepare for your farewell meal in the evening.

You will have the opportunity to put all your skills and knowledge you have learned through the week into practice for the evening meal.

Lunch will be between 12.30 – 2pm and we will start in the kitchen again at 2pm for the afternoon session, finishing around 5.30 pm for your free time and meeting again in the kitchen at 7pm, for the finishing touches to your farewell meal.

DAY 6 - Friday

Continental breakfast between 8.30 – 9.30 am head off back to your rooms to complete your packing and saying your farewells ready for departure by 11am.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION VISIT THESECRETGARDEN-FRANCE.COM

  ABOUT YOUR HOSTS  

Your hosts Rinus and Lesley Woermeijer, met in France in 2008 when Lesley was working in Paris. Rinus is Dutch and has been visiting and living in the area for more than twenty years, Lesley (chef and teacher) is Scottish and has been coming to the area for five years. They married locally in the summer of 2010, and hosted a wonderful wedding breakfast at L’Huilerie – which they naturally catered themselves!

Rinus & Lesley have a great passion for cooking and all things foodie, Rinus has run and owned a number of bars/restaurants over the years, Lesley is a self taught chef and has gained experience over the last ten years, cooking in France and the UK, taking part in a number of cooking courses and building on her knowledge and experience. She creates wonderful recipes/menus which she uses when hosting supper clubs for friends and visitors to the area.

Rinus & Lesley are keen to share their passion with those joining them on the course, and the best way to do that is to ensure that your time at The SecretGarden-France is fun and enjoyable. The course is hands on as this is the best way to learn with Lesley being there to show and guide you during the days cooking sessions.

  COOKING HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION AND THE AREA  

Accommodation

L’Huiliere is a historic farmhouse dating before 1834, the buildings and property have changed over the years.

In early 2000 the Stable was converted into a 2 bedroom gite, this is now the centre of the cooking school with the Stable now hosting the large fully equipped open plan kitchen on the ground floor with double height ceiling and traditional oak beams, keeping to the character of the building and period, a large dining/lounge area for relaxing and 1 of the 4 double/twin ensuite bedrooms.

The further 3 bedrooms are located in the newly converted barn, 2 bedrooms have double beds with the 3rd with twin beds. All 3 have new ensuite shower rooms, again keeping to the character of style of the building. There is a small kitchen area so you can help yourself to tea and coffee.

Local area

We are set in L’Huilerie, Courdemanche, on the D64, it is a beautiful property dating back to 1834,  a rural location, with fantastic views and perfect location for a relaxing holiday and great location to access the villages and towns of Sarthe.

L’Huilerie is a historic property set in its own grounds with a wonderful orchard with apple, plum, cherry, apricot, pear, walnut and hazelnut trees, we also have our own vegetable and herb garden.

There are a number of villages/towns close by, Courdemanche, 1.5km and  La Chartre sur Loir 6km, (as well as others) where you will find the typical French bakers, cafes and bars, also there is a supermarket in La Chartre sur Loir, if you need essentials.

We are centrally located between Le Mans (40 mins north) and Tours (50 mins south), ideal location to explore the chateau’s in the area, local markets, vineyards, festivals, water activities great walks for hikers and a keen spot for cyclists.

If you have access to a car you can head off into the local towns, or maybe go a little further into Le Mans (40 mins North) or Tours (50 mins South) exploring the Old and New towns and enjoying the many restaurants, cafes and bars.

In the summer months there is a wonderful light show (after dark usually starting at 10pm) Les Chiminiers is worth a visit if you have never been/seen before.

The Lakes of Marcon is a favourite of people who want to enjoy the sunshine, there is a manmade beach with water sports and other activities.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION VISIT THESECRETGARDEN-FRANCE.COM

  CONTACT DETAILS  
Rinus & Lesley Woermeijer
The SecretGarden-France
L’Huilerie
Courdemanche
Loire
France
Phone:
(0033) (0)243 462805
Email:
thesecretgarden-france@hotmail.com
Web:
thesecretgarden-france.com
 
 
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