If I had to select one food to take with me to a deserted island, I'd be tempted to pick chocolate. In the end, however, I know I'd choose bread. Hot, crusty French bread dripping with butter. Or fluffy, soft whole grain bread flecked with sunflower seeds. Or doughy, charred Indian naan. I haven't met a bread I didn't love.

My husband and I go to Vermont once a month, and it seems that no matter where we venture, there's always a place selling fresh, homemade bread. I've always wondered why the same wasn't true of Fairfield County. Here, with our plethora of restaurants and specialty stores, good bread has traditionally been a challenge to find. Thankfully, things are changing.

Billy's Bakery on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield went from a hole-in-the-wall to one of the area's top bakeries a fews ago. It's impossible to go there and not sample a slice or two of the bakery's different freshly made breads. The cranberry walnut bread is a blend of sweet and tart, crunchy and chewy. The Epi loaf, a traditional baguette, is cut to look like a beautiful sheaf of wheat.

Some restaurants in the area serve bread that is so good, it's hard to save room for dinner. The Lime Restaurant in Norwalk serves a soft, whole-grain bread that's so delicious that it takes restraint to stop at one slice. The oatmeal sunflower seed bread at Bloodroot in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport is one of my favorites.

The latest addition to the area bread basket is Fairfield Bread Co. I first tried its "Flaxette" bread about a year ago, when I bought a loaf at the Greenfield Hill Farmers Market. The ingredients are simple: flour, sea salt, yeast and flax seeds. But the taste was complex. Sweet and nutty, with a crackly exterior and chewy inside. I was instantly hooked and wanted to try more.

I was surprised, however, to find that Fairfield Bread's baker, Michael Mordecai, made only the one type of bread. He baked in a space rented from a Fairfield bakery and was a one-man bread-baking machine. But he did one thing and he did it well. With the Flaxette gaining popularity, it was hard for him to keep it on the shelves at local stores.

More Information

THE SCOOP Fairfield Bread Co. breads can be found at: • Garelick & Herbs, 1799 Post Road, Westport • Spic & Span Market, 329 Pequot Ave., Southport • Sport Hill Farm Market, 596 Sport Hill Road, Easton • The Pantry, 1580 Post Road, Fairfield • Whole Foods Market, 350 Grasmere Ave., Fairfield and 399 Post Road West, Westport For other locations, visit the website, www.fairfieldbread.com Other places to enjoy great bread: • Billy's Bakery: 1885 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield; 203-337-5349 • The Lime restaurant: 168 Main Street, Norwalk; 203-846-9240 • Bloodroot restaurant: 85 Ferris Street, Bridgeport; 203-576-9168

It's been just over two years since Mordecai started his business, and things are going well. So well, in fact, that he's moved his production to a larger bakery in Bridgeport and is now about to launch two new products: Pizza Dough Familio and Luncheonette Flaxette, a sandwich loaf.

"They're all based on the same dough," said Mordecai. "They just are baked differently."

The original Flaxette is made with a special three-day process that helps develop the flavors. Mordecai suggests using it for crostini topped with cheese or meats, dipped in olive oil or spread with hummus. If there's any left over, you can use it for French toast or bread pudding.

The Luncheonette Flaxette has a soft crust and comes in an 18-slice loaf. "It's great for sandwiches, grilled cheese or even toast," he said.

Over the years, I've experimented with making my own bread. A New York Times article by Mark Bittman, published in 2006, was life-changing for many home bakers. Entitled "The Secret to Great Bread," the article included a recipe for no-knead bread using only three ingredients: flour, yeast and salt. It's an incredibly easy way to make bread, and the results are magical. The bread is baked in a covered pot, so when you remove the lid, you're amazed at the beautiful loaf that awaits. I made that bread more times than I can count, but I have to admit: so far, nothing beats the Flaxette.

Contact Patti Woods at eatdrinkshopcook@gmail.com.

THE SCOOP

Fairfield Bread Co. breads can be found at:

- Garelick & Herbs, 1799 Post Road, Westport

- Spic & Span Market, 329 Pequot Ave., Southport

- Sport Hill Farm Market, 596 Sport Hill Road, Easton

- The Pantry, 1580 Post Road, Fairfield

- Whole Foods Market, 350 Grasmere Ave., Fairfield and 399 Post Road West, Westport

For other locations, visit the website, www.fairfieldbread.com

Other places to enjoy great bread:

- Billy's Bakery: 1885 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield; 203-337-5349

- The Lime restaurant: 168 Main Street, Norwalk; 203-846-9240

- Bloodroot restaurant: 85 Ferris Street, Bridgeport; 203-576-9168