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Trips to Tastiness

by Maggie Glezer - December 24, 2000

One would expect to find great bakeries in Kansas, the state that is the No. 1 producer of wheat. And indeed, there is one, and only one, very good artisan bakery here: WheatFields. Surprisingly, there is nothing like it in the more cosmopolitan Kansas City, Missouri area, or the surrounding states. It is an anomaly, and it is worth the hour drive from Kansas City to the charming bedroom community of Lawrence, a college town full of interesting stores, bars and restaurants.

Here you will find exceptional bread, breakfasts, sandwiches and outstanding pastries. The kalamata olive bread is the best I have ever eaten, and the country French is very fine as well, made from a special grind of organic flour.

Revered baker Thom Leonard built the bakery, installing a hand-built, round-hearthed, Spanish oven called a Llopis. Leonard is no longer baking here, but he is still a partner, and the breads continue to meet his high standards.

If you can, take the westerly drive to Lawrence in the late afternoon, just before dusk, when the always-spectacular sunsets will make you believe you are going to the Promised Land.

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