Living France - - A LA MANSION -

Ihave a sense of déjà-vu when speak­ing to Louise Pick­ford. For the sec­ond time in as many months, I’m talk­ing to some­one who had been liv­ing in Aus­tralia for a num­ber of years, then de­cided to move closer to fam­ily in the UK and chose France as the ideal lo­ca­tion, mostly for the weather. And there’s a rea­son Louise her­self is fa­mil­iar too.

Reg­u­lar read­ers may recog­nise food writer and stylist Louise’s name, and might even have recreated some of her recipes in their own kitchen – she be­came Liv­ing France’s food colum­nist in 2015 af­ter tak­ing over from Mary Cado­gan. The two women have worked to­gether and been good friends for many years, and in fact Louise and her hus­band Ian Wal­lace, a food and life­style pho­tog­ra­pher, have Mary to thank for find­ing Char­ente.

“We didn’t re­ally know many parts of France but had spent some time around Bordeaux and Toulouse, so that was the sort of area we were think­ing of,” says Louise. “We didn’t know Char­ente at all but we de­cided to visit Mary while we were over in France and thought how lovely it was. Thanks to her we dis­cov­ered An­goulême, and she in­tro­duced us to a few of the lo­cal restau­rants she and her hus­band had been go­ing to. That’s what in­spired us to move to this area.” And move they did in 2013, ini­tially rent­ing a gîte near Con­folens for six weeks be­fore find­ing a prop­erty to rent just out­side of An­goulême. Louise and Ian worked with Mary for the first 12 months, styling and pho­tograph­ing food, be­fore Mary then re­tired, leav­ing a gap which Louise stepped in to fill.

“When Mary fin­ished there was a gap in the mar­ket for food tours and cook­ery classes in the area, so it all sort of fell into place,” says Louise. “It was some­thing I could do and it gave us more con­trol over how we spent our work time. That’s also how I came to start writ­ing the food col­umn for Liv­ing France.”

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