Special Issues » Bite

Bite 2016: Valhalla Bakery

Celine Duvoisin

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Upon first tasting Celine Duvoisin's vegan pastries, we may have referred to her as a "magical unicorn kitchen witch" (OK, we did. With emoji.) But while her confectionery powers may seem like magic, she's no imaginary being – Duvoisin is a down-to-earth, no-nonsense boss in the kitchen. Her professional start in life was as a makeup artist, but she later started baking at Publix – so perhaps it's not surprising that if she has to choose, she prefers the decorating to the baking process. "Baking is cathartic, but being able to make people smile with fun cakes that have personality is more satisfying," she says.

Valhalla does a bang-up business in custom cakes, but the pastry case at Market on South is where most of Duvoisin's fans first encounter her work. Butter tarts and Nanaimo bars reflect her Canadian heritage, while cinnamon rolls, fruit tarts, cookies, ganache slices, hand pies and her runaway-success doughnuts in dozens of crazy flavors simply reflect her desire to make sure everyone's sweet tooth is satisfied. While Valhalla decided to focus on vegan pastry, seeing a need in Orlando for quality baked goods that people with dietary restrictions could enjoy, Duvoisin's personal philosophy on eating sweets is simple and universal: "It doesn't need to be healthy, because it's a treat. Eat good quality, and don't feel guilty."

2603 E. South St., 407-613-5968; $$

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