À LA MAISON
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.”