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Sladjana Novakovic, bakery owner 

Artisan breads are few and far between in Charlotte; however, Nova's Bakery – located in Plaza Midwood and owned by Vlado and Sladjana Novakovic – devotes time to producing artisan and specialty European breads, pastries and desserts fresh each day.

Creative Loafing: Where does your inspiration for artisan baking originate?

Sladjana Novakovic: My husband's family owned a mill, and he grew up in the industry. My passion is for the bread. Typically in Europe, bread and pastry are kept separate. Bread is more labor intensive, but is an art form that we both enjoy.

What motivated you to open a bakery in Charlotte?

[In] Europe, there are fresh bakeries all around. We moved to Boston from Serbia 17 years ago. After a move to Boston, we headed down South to Charlotte. When we arrived, we discovered a lack of bakeries. We decided to start our own bakery, and we have been in business for 12 years now.

What has been challenging as a bakery owner in Charlotte?

It is not easy to make good bread every day. The humidity and climate makes a difference in production with breads. We do not use any added sugars, oils, or preservatives -- but we have had to adjust our formulas due to the change in climate from Boston.

Stop into Nova's bakery -- the cranberry-pecan and foccacia breads are excellent. For more, visit www.novasbakery.com.

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