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Cooking Vacations France with Louise Pickford

Join Louise Pickford for a wonderful cooking holiday. At Come Cook in France, Louise strives to use locally sourced, organic, and ethically reared animals. Whenever possible, vegetables will also be picked from the garden or you will go out and gather them in the forest. Immerse yourself with the excitement of coming across wild plums, peaches, walnuts, ceps, and even wild asparagus around the area and then to bring it home and cook and eat it!

Meet the instructors

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  • Trips to local markets
  • Hands on cooking classes
  • Lunches al fresco with beautiful countryside view
  • Daily breakfast, four lunches, and five dinners
  • Visit to amazing local producers
  • 7 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 6
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Check-out Time:

During this culinary vacation, you will be staying in The Courtyard at Sainte Catherine. The Courtyard at Sainte Catherine is a four-star award winning family friendly Gîte and Chambre D’hotes holiday rental in the heart of the Charente. It is a perfect base to discover the region and the wonderful historic towns of Jarnac, Cognac, and Angouleme.

The buildings that make up The Courtyard were virtually ruins when it was acquired in 2004. However, the location was so peaceful and the views so beautiful, that it was took on for renovation. Despite the rural location, there is everything that you could need on a daily basis just two minutes away, in Rouillac.

It is a pretty village which dates from before Roman times and is still host to one of the oldest and largest farmers markets in France on the 27th of each month. The accommodation is fully equipped with linens, bath towels, Wi-Fi, private parking, end-of-stay cleaning, private garden, barbeque place, kitchen, and a TV.


All classes will be held at the residence of Louise, in Les Cardinaux, Aignes et Puyperoux, Charente, a very pretty 35 minute drive away from your accommodation.

Daily schedule

Day 1

Arrive at your accommodation on Saturday afternoon between 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. where you will be met by Louise and Steph. You will settle into your accommodation and then enjoy an apero such as drink and nibbles together. Steph will then provide you with a delicious welcoming dinner.

Day 2

You will meet at 10 a.m. at Les Halles in Angouleme, the covered food market where you will take in all the amazing produce available and then enjoy a lunch at one of the stalls. You will then have your fist cooking class in the afternoon, making a delicious evening meal together, before you return to your accommodation.

Day 3

The morning is yours to relax and enjoy and Louise will meet you at 2 p.m. at a local Pineau des Charentes and cognac producer to learn about the process involved in the making of both.

Day 4

You will start the day at 11 a.m. and you will begin the preparation for a three-course meal. You will then have a light lunch of local meats, cheese, and salads. After a short siesta, you will complete the three courses for dinner together. Hopefully, you can eat al fresco before you return to the accommodation.

Day 5

Today, you will have the day off to explore the beautiful region.

Day 6

You will meet Louise at her home at 10 a.m. where you will prepare a meal for lunch with either Pineau or cognac. In the afternoon, you will visit another producer and then you are free for your late afternoon and evening to dine with Steph or enjoy a dinner out.

Day 7

Today will be a full day’s cooking where together, you will prepare and cook a fabulous four to five course meal to enjoy today to celebrate the end of a fantastic week of food experiences in Poitou Charente. You will eat a light lunch and take a little siesta after lunch. After that, you will go back to cook the remaining dishes for the evening meal.

Day 8

At 10:30 a.m., you will check out. Steph will see you off whether it is to return home or continue your holiday in France.

Included excursions

  • Visit to Cognac and Pineau des Charentes wineries
  • Visit to duck producer
  • Visit to foie grass
  • Visit to goat cheese producers
  • Visit to local markets at Angouleme and La Rochelle
  • Visit to organic fruit and vegetable growers
  • Visit to oyster and mussel farms
  • Visit to saffron producer


Louise Pickford
Louise Pickford has been a food editor of several food and lifestyle magazines in London and Sydney. She now lives and works in South West France with her husband Ian Wallace and her dogs, Bosco and Parker. She fell in love with cooking in her early twenties and it was then that she decided to follow her heart into working in the culinary world. Her journey has taken her all over the globe where she has been fortunate enough to work with some of the best chefs and cooks.


This cooking holiday will take place in Les Cardinaux, Aigenes et Puyoeroux, Charente, France.

Nearby places

  • Bergerac - 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Bordeaux - 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Caen - 6 hours
  • Calais - 7 hours
  • La Rochelle - 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Limoges - 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Poitiers - 1 hour and 50 minutes
  • Saint Malo - 5 hours
  • Roscoff - 6 hours



  • Cooking classes
  • Swimming
  • Swimming pool


  • Barbecue facilities
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant nearby
  • River nearby


  • Car rental nearby
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Local market
  • Parking lot


During this cooking holiday, you will have daily breakfast, four lunches, and five dinners included in the price of this holiday. Two of the dinners will be cooked by you during the hands on cooking classes with Louise, the rest of the dinners will be prepared by Steph at the accommodation or she will recommend you a restaurant.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Painting Holidays
  • Visit to Cognac
  • Visit to Rocherfort
  • Waterskiing
  • Wine tours

What's included

  • 4 hands on cooking classes
  • 4 lunches
  • 5 dinners
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily delicious breakfast
  • Handbooks with the recipes prepared
  • Meals at al fresco with beautiful view
  • Tours of Cognac and Pineau des Charentes wineries
  • Trips to local markets of Angoulome and La Rochelle
  • Visit an oyster and mussel farm
  • Visit saffron producers
  • Visit to goat cheese, foie gras, and duck producer
  • Visit to organic fruit and vegetable growers

What's not included

  • Additional activities, excursions, and services
  • Additional meals and drinks
  • Airfare
  • Car rental
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel arrangements

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Limoges-Bellegarde Airport (LIG). You can also book your flight to arrive at Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD), Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport (EGC), Poitiers-Biard Airport (PIS), or La Rochelle-Île de Ré Airport (LRH).

The journey between the accommodation and Limoges-Bellegarde Airport (LIG), Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD), Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport (EGC), or La Rochelle-Île de Ré Airport takes about one and a half hour, whereas the journey between the accommodation and Poitiers-Biard Airport (PIS) takes one hour and 50 minutes.

Arrival by ferry

The nearest ferries are in Saint Malo, Calais, Roscoff, and Caen. It takes between five to seven hours to get from each of the above mentioned ports to the destination.

Cancellation Policy

  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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