Somehow the apparent phenomena known as the Montréal-style bagel has heretofore completely passed me by. Wikipedia has kindly informed me that a large portion of Montréal’s Jewish community — from which the bagels originated — gradually left for other North American locations, including one Houston, Texas. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and I can say with 100% certainty that I’ve never, ever seen a Montréal -style bagel shop in the city. Lucky for me, I moved from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Ontario two years ago, a city which I know with 100% certainty has actual Montréal-style bagel shops, being that we’re approximately 5.2 minutes1 from Québec.
I was in the lunchroom at work making my morning Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal today when my colleague said “hey Carmen, we brought in Montréal-style bagels”. I smiled and thanked him, but though “ew”, mostly because I’m just not a bagel girl. I never have been. I’m really not a “bread” girl at all, unless it’s mixed with chocolate and sugar and called cake. 😉 However, always one to try new things, I thought “what they hey, I’ll try it”. Upon asking what “Montréal-style bagel” actually meant, I was told that it’s sweeter and more dense than a regular bagel. Hmm, sweet and dense? This might be something I could get used to. I bebopped my way in, picked up my bagel and schmear, and proceeded to drop said bagel and schmear face down on the floor on my way to my desk as I tried to poorly manage two coffee cups, said bowl of oatmeal, and the bagel. In honour of the “five second rule”, though, I snapped it up, stared at the seeds strewn across the floor, dusted it off, and went on my merry little way. For a brief moment, I considered not eating it at all. Then I considered eating just the bottom since it plopped down on its top. I finally concluded that I would likely not die from the pig flu, nor from any other overly-hyped disease, just from it sitting face down for three seconds. In I bit.
Sweet and dense, indeed! The bread had a sweet scent on the nose, and was completely flavourful, while almost donut-like. It was flaky and not nearly as thick as the bagels I’ve had. Montréal-style bagels apparently don’t have egg or salt, unlike regular bready bagels; honey is added to the water prior to the bagels being boiled (or poached, to be more specific); and they are baked in wood-fired ovens, unlike regular bready bagels.
I only managed to eat about half of it, though, because I’d gotten to work slightly later than normal2 and didn’t want to spoil my lunch3. But the bottom line is that I *loved* it and may or may not have found a new favourite food. Had Montréal-style bagels been on Mount Sinai when Moses lost his temper, I have a feeling he could have calmed himself down with a little bagel and schmear, and those cursed broken tablets may just have been spared.
1Well, more like 5.2 hours.
2I’m not a morning person, which may be why I don’t like bagels. I’m never up early enough to finish them. As a matter of fact, my colleagues like to tease me by saying I work the “afternoon shift”. I really loathe getting up early. Really. And lately, the traffic has seriously sucked because apparently, the good citizens of Toronto can’t drive in the dark.
3Lunch that I usually eat around Noon, even though I’ve only been at work for 2.5 hours at that point. Why are you looking at me like that?