A Rickmansworth bakery has been named one of the best food shops in the country.

Cinnamon Square, in Church Street, was one of 50 businesses on a prestigious list compiled by the Independent. The bakery spends 150 hours making one of its specialities - sour rye bread.

The newspaper asked a panel of four food experts to visit businesses across England, including bakeries, butchers and chocolatiers, and give their verdict.

Philip Lowery, judge and founder of the Real Food Festival, said of Cinnamon Square: "It's a real delight to find a proper baker who also sells the benefits of long fermentation times in the production of its bread. It's hard to beat the full range of flavoursome loaves that come out of this tiny shop."

Husband-and-wife duo Paul and Trisha Barker carved Cinnamon Square out of the shell of an empty wine bar four years ago.

Father-of- two Paul, 44, said: "It is an honour to be listed as one of the best food shops in the country and to be recognised by industry experts. I believe we were one of just nine bakeries to get a mention.

"We champion the Real Bread Campaign and make all our bread by hand on the premises, using old fashioned methods and decent ingredients, instead of your average supermarket sliced loaf. The secret of our success is probably the amount of time we spend making out bread.

"The longer the bread takes to make, the higher its nutritional value and taste. Our 100 per cent sour rye takes 150 hours to make, and our wheat and rye sour takes 72 hours. By comparison, the average sliced loaf of bread bought in a supermarket takes just two hours to make."

Paul and Trisha are also renowned for their award-winning mince pies and signature cinnamon square cakes, which won a British Baking Industry award two years ago, beating some of the biggest names in the business.

The couple are in the process of expanding their shop and hope to move into the empty premises next door within three weeks.