Bagel Wars – The Difference Between Montreal and New York Bagels

Since the dawn of time, unbridled rivalry has been a way of life. West coast vs. East coast, iPhone vs. Android, Coke vs. Pepsi, New York Slice vs. Chicago Deep Dish and of course Montreal vs. New York Bagels.

So when I headed to Montreal, it was time for a little market research. I think it was safe to say I was familiar with the New York kind. I was ready to sink my teeth into a Montreal bagel.

Now, I understand if you have an affinity with one place you will naturally take a side but here I ask.

Do we really need to choose?

Instead, can we entertain the idea that one is not better than the other but rather equally differently?

In fact, apart from having the same name, being round with a hole in the middle, and originating from Polish Jews, Montreal and New York bagels are actually very different.

Starting with the shape. Dare I say it but, much like its owner, the New York bagel is fatter and thicker than the Canadian counterpart. This small fact only means more surface area for schmear, which is a good thing. And when there are 1600 different types of cream cheese flavors, who wouldn’t want as much space as possible.

These neighboring doughs are also made using different methods. Montreal bagels are known for their sweet taste because they are poached in honey-infused water before being cooked in wood fire ovens that yield a crispy crunchy outer shell. On the other hand, NY bagels are noticeable fluffier and chewy.

And when to comes to what’s on the inside, NYer’s take the simple route while Montrealers like to spend the time developing the craft. One can only assume. The northern friends like to sweeten the deal with a bit of eggs and honey.

One thing to give New York bagels is like the city itself, you are spoilt for choice. I feel like I could eat a different flavored bagel each day of the month. Of course, that wouldn’t be great for the waistline but who’s counting. There’s plain, garlic, onion, everything, sesame, poppy seed, whole wheat everything, blueberry, whole-wheat blueberry… you get the picture.

MTL bagels, on the other hand, don’t have as much versatility as poppy seed and sesame bagels tend to be the go-to.

As you can see, New York and Montreal Bagels share only a name. Basically, it comes down to whether you want big and fluffy, and don’t need to eat again today kind of bagel or a crunchy smaller meal that leaves room for more.

The bottom line is ‘I like bagels a lox’ and if it means I need to keep eating for the sake of market research then so be it. On lives the rivalry, for the purpose of eating.

Steph_profHerstory is a weekly column on women and travel by Steph Ridhalgh. Steph is a Sydney born; New York based television producer and travel blogger. Not one for being quiet for too long she simply loves talking about travel and lifestyle.

Steph is the founder of STEP(h) ABROAD, a travel and lifestyle resource for those who love to be in the know and know how.

Connect with her on the web, Facebook and Twitter

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