Passion de France Adds to the Diversity of the Avenue
Written by Shirley Serviss
Photo by Edmonton Shutterbugs Photography
In Edmonton, if you can’t find what you want, you create it. When Melanie Dovale came here with her husband in 2010 from Montreal, she found chain stores, not the small, independent businesses she was used to. So she decided to open one of her own.
“I missed the little shops with their own signature and always wanted to own a shop,” she says. It took a few years, but she opened Passion de France in 2014 just off 118th Avenue at 11812 86th Street, across from Eastwood Park. Customers are welcomed to the little French bakery with outdoor tables shaded by umbrellas and blooming flowerboxes. The inside is equally inviting with antique chairs and European artwork.
Ironically, Melanie is the daughter of Portuguese immigrants, but says she has never been very interested in Portuguese food. Nor has she any formal training in the culinary arts, but loves reading recipe books, watching cooking shows and videos on YouTube. “French pastries offer lots of room for creativity,” she says. “There are so many types of crèmes and sponges.”
She is Muslim so everything they make at the bakery is halal. “I adapt the recipes so that there is no alcohol or pork,” she says. “We also have many vegetarian options available.” She also uses fresh, natural ingredients with no preservatives, offering soups, crepes, quiches and catering as well as pastries.
Melanie has her masters in counseling, so is a good listener if her customers want to start a conversation. “They get a two for one,” she says, “therapy and French cuisine!”
She chose the 118th Avenue area because it had the small community feeling she was missing and is very multicultural. “If you want to discover a new taste, come to the Avenue,” she says. She appreciates the many activities and festivals the area offers and the way people get involved in the community.
Although running her own business is exhausting, she finds it rewarding to create something that people like.
This special community project became reality through the creative efforts of:
Justin Brunelle | Moving Artistry Productions
Weyme Teeter | Video Editor
David Baron | Cinematographer
Shirley Serviss | Writer
The Edmonton Shutterbugs Photography Group
Christy Morin | Project Producer
Allison Argy-Burgess | Project Coordinator