Saturday, November 19, 2011

St. Viateur Bagels

An unassuming store front
A lot of people really love bagels. I get the New Yorker "our bagels are the best" thing. Unfortunately for me, I've never had a great New York bagel. Now, this is not to say that I don't love bagels. My carbohydrate loving self goes in and gets a bagel from Bruegger's almost every morning. But the best bagel I've ever had is neither from a chain breakfast joint, nor from New York. It's a sesame seed bagel from St. Viateur's in Montreal. 
Hand rolling bagels
Though I've not experienced bagel greatness in New York, my understanding is that a terrific bagel has both the crisp on the outside, and the feel good chew on the inside. They are first boiled, and then baked to achieve this perfect texture. The bagels at St. Viateur are known for being thinner than the characteristically more famous bagels of NYC, complete with a wider hole in the middle. However, they also have the added bonus of being fired up in this huge oven over in the shop at 263 St. Viateur West. You see the skilled workers rapidly hand rolling the dough. These bagels are later boiled in honey water, which accounts for their delicate sweetness. At this stage, in batches, they continue onto huge palates, and then these are placed straight into the blazing wood oven. After a few minutes, the bagel master removes them from the oven, and then piles them onto mounds and mounds of other bagels that have just been also fired and separated into the categories of plain, sesame, and poppy seed.
Mounds of bagels! And the
charming bagel master!
You wouldn't believe if I told you how wonderful this shop smells. It's intoxicating. Located a bit out of the way from the rest of downtown and the popular Montreal tourist areas, one parks his or her vehicle on the street, and follows their nose toward the smell of roasting bread. There's no place to sit. There's a case full of milk and juice, smoked salmon, butter, and cream cheese. And that's about it. Maybe there's a spot to buy a newspaper. But basically you are going in, buying your bagels (multiple... I can't really imagine that anyone goes in here and orders just one), and getting the hell out. You can't get a bagel sandwich. They're not going to spread your damn cream cheese on the bread for you. Again, get in, and get out. Smile, pay, run outside, and devour.
Steaming hot bagels
The bagels are crispy. They smell of the wood fired oven. They're sweeter than other bagels that i've had, and the unique chew of the sesame seeds adds another nutty element and a nice texture to every single bite. Every time we come up to Montreal, I require that we grab a dozen or two of these beauties before returning home. They freeze nicely and area always a nice reminder of what is clearly one of my favorite cities in the world. 

St. Viateur Bagels (original bakery)
263 St. Viateur West
Montréal, QC H2V 1Y1, Canada

1 comment:

  1. Kosher New York Bagels are in a league of its own when it comes to consumption.
    Many other cities try to imitate the taste but just can’t get close.
    People who aren’t from NYC or haven’t been here may not be able to understand or relate. But there are people that have tried to replicate the style in places like Denver and
    They are re sellers of A&S bagels which are certified Kosher.
    Authenticate Fresh NY Bagels shipped overnight and they are amazing.