Valhalla Bakery is a vegan doughnut shop located inside Market South, a local vegan eatery on East South Street in Orlando. It is owned and operated by Celine Mariah Duvoisin, 36, who is a nine-year veteran of Publix bakeries. Duvoisin worked her way from cake decorator to baker, trainer and bakery manager.
“I then decided it was time to really be myself instead of a corporate version I struggled to keep up with," Duvoisin said. "Having to wear long sleeves in mid-summer Florida to cover tattoos was a real pain. I ventured out to do what I am good at and that has always been baking.”
Expanding beyond its single location, a new bakery will be opening soon near UCF in the University Commons plaza on Corporate Boulevard with 10 regular flavors and two to four rotating flavors, among other baked goods.
Valhalla Bakery's doughnuts will still be available at Market South, Duvoisin said.
Valhalla Bakery was coined an “accidental doughnut shop” because everyone was always asking Duvoisin to make doughnuts. After getting the blessing of a friend who made vegan doughnuts, she started working on her very own special recipe.
“They took off like crazy,” she said.
Kristen Davis, 20, who is starting her third year at UCF in the fall and is pursuing a major in art education, said she visits the shop as often as she can.
“The shop is cool and friendly, the staff is very welcoming and Celine, the owner of Valhalla, is always so bright and excited,” Davis said. “I try to get there about 10 minutes before they open to wait in line. It’s not unusual to wait for 20 or 30 minutes, depending on how many people are there.”
Valhalla Bakery is staffed with bakers 18 to 20 hours a day, who start baking each day's stock at 10 p.m. on weekends and midnight on weekdays. It opens at 8 a.m., and the case is kept stocked as well as possible with doughnuts and other traditional bakery items.
“Doughnuts are generally gone by 11 a.m., with people lining up as early as 8 a.m. for Sunday’s opening at 11 a.m.,” she said.
Chris Enzo, 25, a senior business major, heard of Valhalla Bakery through a friend who is a vegetarian. He took the wrong exit one day and somehow landed right by the shop — so, of course, he decided to check it out.
“There is a hipster vibe," Enzo said. "If you notice, they reuse resources here. The utensils and cups are not plastic but metal and glass. They do not mind washing dishes for the overall greater good."
Working for the greater good doesn't mean sacrificing great taste, he said.
"A vegan doughnut tastes very similar to a non-vegan doughnut," he said. "The major difference is the vegan version is much more rich and heavy. I am full after only one doughnut, but I could eat three or four non-vegan ones.”
Duvoisin said Valhalla Bakery’s unique and trendy flavors are concocted through hours of research into flavor combinations, scouring books and websites to find ideal flavors.
"They generally have five to 10 different choices that change daily, but in my experience they normally have the 'Glorious Glazed' and 'Fruity Pebbz,'" Davis said. "I usually get a six pack and have tried many different flavors, but the 'Bourbon French Toast' is my favorite."
Duvoisin has more than just the animals in mind with every doughnut that goes through the kitchen. The bakery strives to help all those in need.
For example, Valhalla Bakery donated its vegan baked goods to all who were involved in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub attack. It is currently working with Art Reach Orlando to bring experiences to underprivileged youth in Bithlo, as well as restocking their food pantry and collecting donations for personal care items.
“I appreciate this place," Enzo said. "I appreciate where it lies in the business world. I can tell the people who work here have integrity and are adamantly trying to make Earth a better place. Their use of materials and their advocacy for veganism shows their love for Earth and animals.”
Amanda Pham is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.