The US unofficially celebrated National Bagel Day on Sunday; but bagel dominance might be moving north.
Though New York is generally considered the bagel capital of the world, Montreal has long been proud of its unique bagel style, and recent trends seem to show a preference for the Canadian variety.
Montreal-style bagels differ from New York-style bagels in several respects. First, they are made with sugar and no salt, and are then boiled in honey-sweetened water. They are smaller, with a larger hole, and must be baked in a wood-burning oven to earn the true distinction “Montreal-style.”
The result is a bagel that is smaller, sweeter, and crispier on the outside than the large, doughy, chewy New York kind. Even putting aside the comparison, New York bagels have been criticized for ballooning in size over the decades.
Also, Montreal bagels provide clearer options, if that is considered a virtue. While New York is flooded with worthy bagel spots (mixed in with unassuming imposters), Montreal really only has two competitors for the title of best classic bagel: Faimount Bagel and St-Vitaeur Bagel.
Mile End, the progenitor of numerous food trends in New York, could also be credited with bringing Montreal-style bagels south of the border. The upscale Brooklyn deli was co-founded by a Canada native, and named after a Montreal neighborhood known for its food. When the restaurant opened, it insisted on carrying bagels shipped in from Montreal. (They started baking their own in 2012.)
Now, Montreal-style bagels are popping up across the country, from southern New Jersey to Denver to Oakland. Will we soon see Lender’s Montreal-style bagels in the supermarket?