Montréal is known as a food town and bagels are a staple on any food tour. A couple of rival bagel shops in close proximity to one another advertised themselves as having “the best bagels in Montréal.” I was up for the taste challenge.
A Montréal bagel is distinct for its chewy texture and slightly sweet taste. This is achieved by boiling the formed bagel dough in honey water for at least a minute prior to baking. It is a far cry from the bread-like and often dry texture of the bagels often sold in cafés, restaurants and grocery stores. A Montréal-style bagel is also more slender than its rather thick counterpart. Bagels are said to have originated in Poland and are considered a hallmark in a Jewish pantry.
St. Viateur has been in business since 1957 while Fairmount has been around since 1919 and is also credited as the first bagel bakery in Montréal. The prices, line-ups and multitude of locations are comparable. Both also sell cream cheese and other bagel accoutrements and use an extraordinary amount of sesame seeds. While I liked the taste of both their bagels I found Fairmount to have a wider selection of flavours. Which is the best? You’ll have to take a trip to Montréal and see for yourself.