Food and Food: Home Cookin' and work (kinda)30 Jan 2009 09:12 am

At work, it seems I am always eating. From the “lighten up candy” served up 24/7 in the business section, cooking experiments I bring in for my favourite coworker to snack upon, or trying something new which we receive to sample. Nougat, noodles, teas, St Viateur bagels, I’m always eating.

I have long been wanting to order bagels from the famous St Viateur in Montreal. However, they only ship in multiples of 72. I couldn’t fathom getting that many, or even finding enough people to share them with. And what if they weren’t even good?

Although the website tells you to store them pre-sliced in the freezer until ready to toast, I suspected that the bagels might lose their trademark crisp chewiness after sitting overnight in a plastic bag in a shipping box. The chewiness comes from being poached (in honey water, which adds the distinctive sweet taste) and the crisp bite from being wood-fired. It is highly coveted. It is the true essence of a Montreal bagel.

One of our writers is doing a piece on bagels coming up soon, and ordered a box to sample. When it came time to photograph the famous bagels, the bag was “left behind” for “someone to enjoy.” THAT SOMEONE WAS ME.

I inhaled the one we cut for the photo right there at work. It was still a bit cold, and I was not impressed. The chewiness was there, but the crispness from being wood-fired WAS mostly gone. All that was left was a doughy, slightly sweet mass. Still better than the wheels of wheat we get here though. Bagels are one instance where size does not matter and Albertan bagels are mammoth.

However, I brought them home and toasted them, applied cream cheese and they recovered slightly. I’m not sure I’d spend the almost $100 for the bagels and overnight shipping though. I guess it depends how hard I’m jonesing. I will be sure to eat many the next time I visit Montreal however.

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