On a warm day, you can sit by the Housatonic River with your coffee and chocolate ciabatta bread. Or cherry pecan, or olive and rosemary, or cheese and jalapeño … or cinnamon roll. For more than 40 years, Richard Bourdon has been baking European-style sourdough breads in an old brick building that once belonged to the Rising Paper Mill.

He has become widely known for his traditional techniques, and for crusty loaves naturally leavened with sourdough fermentation and shaped by hand.

Born some 50 years ago in Ville-Marie in northwestern Quebec, Richard was 22 and studying the French horn at The Hague Conservatory when he first turned to baking. Travelling through Europe in 1985, he met Michio and Aveline Kushi, founders of the Kushi Institute in Becket and enthusiasts of macrobiotics, and they drew him and his young family to the Berkshires.

He has been baking sourdough bread in Housatonic ever since. You’ll find his breads up and down the county, at restaurants and coffee shops, in farmers markets, and at his own pizza cafe in Pittsfield. (You can also order by mail, and he’ll ship just about anywhere.)

BTW Berkshires