Whenever I travel, I always try to find the best bread in a particular city. Twenty years ago, you had to travel to Europe to find bread rustic, authentic artisan bread. Nowadays, you don’t have to cross an ocean, as both coasts seem to have their fair share of fabulous bread bakeries. Here in Kansas City, there’s really only one place that stands out as being in the same league as some of those heavy hitters, Fervere Bakery.
This tiny bakery located at 17th and Summit was started by Fred Spompinato. He honed his skill in California and then settled in Kansas City. With a partner, he formed Farm to Market Bread Company, after which he moved on and opened Fervere. (A small tag that accompanies each purchase defines fervere as the root word for “passion” and “fermentation”). The brick oven that serves as the shop’s focal point is hand built, allowing for the absolutely marvelous breads to be baked directly on its hearth. To maintain his energy and enthusiasm for baking, Fred only fires up the oven three days a week.
Upon entering the shop, one quickly realizes how difficult is to choose between the pain au levain and orchard bread, the cheese slipper, the olive rosemary bread or any of the other mouth watering selections. Fortunately, each of the breads is available for tasting; samples are cut in small chunks perfect for dunking in the bowl of olive oil that sits on the counter. If you waffle in your selection you might be out of luck. There is a steady stream of customers, most of whom zero in on their loaf without delay. No one would be satisfied making a special trip to this out-of-the-way jewel only to leave empty handed. While the sign says the bakery stays open until 7:00 pm on Thursdays and Fridays and 2:00 pm on Saturdays, regulars know that sellout always occurs hours before closing time.
Fervere may be a little off the beaten path, but it is definitely worth the effort. And savoring each bite won’t require any effort at all.