If you're trying to lose weight, look away now, because we have found, oh my God, the most unbelievable manna from heaven baker that you'll ever come across.
I'd been meaning to get to Leivito in Lovington (home to the famous West Country ice cream) for months, wondering if it could possibly live up to all the hype. Turns out it was worth the wait. Let's start with the location, for the bakery is set back from the road in the old, blue painted Lovington ice cream factory. It's industrial and picturesque at the same time, it reminds me of an Edward Hopper painting. Walk in to a counter stacked with every kind of artisan bread you can think of and many more that you can't - apple and oatmeal sourdough, honey and pumpkin seed loaf. There are cakes here to blow your mind (chocolate and stout topped with cream cheese icing, morello cherry and almond muffins) croissants that sell out by 8 every morning and don't get me started on Saturdays when Lievito spoils its fans with chocolate and hazlenut croissants and a salted caramel flan that triggers undignified scuffles apparently. It is famous for its daily Lovington buns, like Chelsea buns but way better, and doughnuts so light and delicate people can get quite lyrical.
The thing I love most about this most bakery is the way it came into being. The baker Phil Nicodemi spent years as a graphic designer before deciding life was too short to work in an office so he packed in his job, moved to the West Country and enrolled at the legendary Marks Bread in Bristol to learn the art. A year ago he and his wife set up Lievito and within months was suppling some of the West Country's leading restaurants including uber-foodie The Ethicurean in Bristol, the Red Lion in Babcary and the Crown Inn in Wells. It's been so successful Phil has now employed 2 more bakers but he's still up at 3 every morning and working flat out til 3 in the afternoon. Just the thought of that is exhausting to me but he's sunny, upbeat and clearly passionate about baking with new concoctions every week.
I'm an artisan bread obsessive, known to travel miles for my sourdough fix and all I can say, is I've never tasted anything as good as this. My seed-coated sourdough was so good, it disappeared in a day, the 100 per cent rye is perfect. On the last Monday of the month they have a takeway pizza night with flavours such as pickled chilli, coppa and pecorino. But don't tell anyone, I plan to be first in the queue.