monique-duval-panMonique Duval has been asked to give interviews before; she has always avoided them, until now. She said “yes!” to Yucatan Today.

Known as the bread lady, the Slow Food woman, the farmer’s market girl, and the mom-who-makes-yummy-and-healthy-stuff, Monique Duval believes in telling the truth about food. This means her life is probably more complicated than it has to be.

Take whole wheat flour, for example. Most of the flour and bread which is labeled as “whole wheat” is nothing of the kind; if it has its germ stripped out and bran added, it is not much better than refined flour…which is not beneficial to your health. Monique mills the wheat, then makes the bread.

She tells the story of a woman who came in to her bakery and asked for a vegetarian version of Monique’s famous Monte Cristo sandwich. (What is Monique’s Monte Cristo? In her words: “The Monte Cristo sandwich — packed to go –is a “hyper” kind of sandwich made with sourdough bread, gruyere cheese and proscuiutto ham. It´s grilled, then dunked in beer batter and — oh yes I know, please refrain from gasping — then deep fried in olive oil and ghee. It is then — oh god, I know this sandwich just never ends — it is dusted with chipotle-spiced powdered sugar and served with strawberry jam. An intensely sinful treat.”) Back to the woman who wanted it without the ham: Monique prepared the sandwich as requested, placing it in the olive oil for frying. The same olive oil which had been used to fry the ones with ham. Suddenly Monique realized that this was NOT a vegetarian sandwich if it was cooked where the ham had been cooked. She said nothing to the customer, started a new batch of oil, and made a completely new sandwich in the fresh olive oil. This is what she means by telling the truth about food.

Monique is a sculptor and writer who used to make art and now makes food as art. Her bakery has a mailing list of 600, and in addition to many different kinds of whole grain and sourdough breads, she makes cookies, muffins, granola, waffle-pancake mix, yogurt, goat cheese, and sells her fresh arugula to boot. This may sound like a short list but it is not; there are dozens of items.

She also has an activity center at the bakery called Flow Holistic Center. “We are health builders and health activists committed to improving, strengthening and preserving total health, vitality and well being. We do this by stimulating and facilitating the energetic flow of health and healing throughout your body, mind, spirit, relationships, and environment,” says Monique. They have a variety of activities for kids and adults. Facebook: Flow Holistic Center.

Monique used to be a junk food addict and decided to change her life when she became pregnant with her first child in 2004. Her fabulous “whole foods”-type bakery and café is so much more! She also prepares all of her own cultures for sourdough breads, kefir and yogurt; her marvelous organic garden produces arugula, lemongrass and more goodies for tasty creations like homemade pizzas; and she has also already had a fantastic “Slow Food”-type activity on her own, teaching school kids where bread comes from, starting with growing their own wheat! Monique’s Bakery and Café, and Flow Holistic Center, are located at Calle 79 No. 191A x 36 y 38, Montes de Ame, behind Gran Plaza.  Tel. 195-6389. Open Tue/Thu/Fri/Sat 8 am – 4 pm.

Monique is passionate about food. But she believes that when it comes to food, passion is not enough; you also need honor and discipline. She does the extraordinary with the ordinary, creating food that is more than just nourishment; her food is a means of communication between people. “I believe that by working together, like-minded people can join forces and leap into the future.”

Recommended reading:
Slow Food Yucatan
Face to Face: Paula Sievert
Face to Face: George Ann Huck
Face to Face: Erich Briehl
Face to Face: Abel Vasquez and Melva Medina
Face to Face: Mathieu & Stephanie Bress
Face to Face: Monique Duval
Face to Face: Dr. Carlos Cabrera
Face to Face: Ralf Hollmann
Face to Face: Connie Leal Delgado
Face to Face: Wayne Trotter


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