Bill Brownstein of The Gazette this week has been weighing in on a heresy that is being promoted in the fair city of Hamilton, Ontario. Fortino’s has been selling a distinctly American/Ontario-style bagel covered in cinnamon and sugar and calling it a Montreal Bagel . The whistle was blown first on the Chowhound blog with a post entitled, Protection of the “Montreal Bagel” designation.
Ryk Edelstein, a major Montreal food-booster, took up the cudgels and sent off a letter of protest to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. R. John Dolbec, CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce replied: “I do hope and trust that your email was tongue in cheek – anyway, I will presume so. As a Montreal native myself (I grew up in Rosemount, with some time in Park Ex), I have indeed a very intimate familiarity with (and am truly a tremendous fan of) ‘Montreal-style’ bagels. I do think it is somewhat unfair of you to penalize a whole city for the actions, appropriate or not, of just one merchant.”
Nevertheless this clearly has got a large number of Montrealers incensed. There is even now a Facebook group calling itself, The Society for the Preservation of the Montreal Bagel. They plan to build a Bagelmobile complete with wood-fired oven, long paddles and honey water dip, and to drive cross-country to educate Canadians on what a REAL bagel is supposed to taste like.
It’s not surprising they should come up with such a plan. After all Saint Viateur Bagel, one of the two bigger bagel bakers in Montreal, has an online website that can ship bagels all across Canada.
For myself it’s more than just the taste of the bagel. It can be a total Montreal bagel experience. Just pop into the Fairmount Bagel Bakeryand buy a dozen sesame-seed bagels.
You will find the atmosphere inside there totally captivating. As you drive home chewing on one of the hot bagels, the aroma from the others in the open paper bag on the back seat will remind you of the store. There is no better way of enjoying Montreal bagels and it happens only in Montreal.
Related: Montreal Bagel Blog
For information on interesting Montreal places to visit, see
Frommer’s Montreal & Quebec City 2009 Guide (Frommer’s Complete)
Montreal & Quebec City For Dummies (Dummies Travel)