A piping hot paper bag in my well manicured paws. Literally playing hot potato as I walk towards ma maison. Stop light. I can’t wait. I reach in, tear off a piece & pop it in my bouche. The golden smoked crust gives way to a chewy cloud-like centre. All bets are off when it comes to an oven-fresh St-Viateur Bagel.
Last month I was THRILLED to be invited to visit St-Viateur Bagel & Café, to make the Montréal famous goodie with owner Vince Morena!
I was first introduced to the delicious bready piece of heaven years ago by my Montréal born love. From that point on, no other bagel would do, as my tastebud forever longed for St-Viateur.
Touted as ‘the longest running bagel shop in Montréal’, it has been in the Morena family since 1974.
As a child, Vince’s father, Joe Morena, actually delivered milk to the original owner, then started working at the shoppe at the ripe age of 15. Fast forward a few years, Joe (lovingly called ‘Yosel’ by his Yiddish clientele) became an owner and plus tard, his 3 enfants followed in his bagel making footsteps. Eventually, the first Café opened in 1996 and is actually the result of Vince’s MBA thesis. Très cool!
So what’s so special about the delectable circle of doughy goodness?
The St-Viateur bagel has been made the same way for literally YEARS, hence the slogan ‘Embracing the Art of Bagel making since 1957’. Rolled by hand.
Boiled in honey water.
Dusted with seeds and baked in a wood oven.
One cannot argue with said historical technique as the taste is truly SCRUMPTIOUS. And, at 4$/6 bagels, it is literally pennies to enjoy a piece of culinary history.
The honey water which sweetens the delicious treat makes them simply addictive. Trust me, you’ll completely agree once you savour the mouthwatering morsel. And, for all you vegans out there? Nary a dairy or egg product involved: ENJOY!
24/7! The convenience of the hours to access this amazing Montréal delicacy is a double edged sword. A good friend stayed with me for his première visit to Montreal and we purchased 1/2 dozen bagels. We sat at a nearby terrasse to enjoy them with a café. After consuming 2 like a hungry, hungry hippo, he saw the plastic bag in the bottom of the sack and innocently asked what it was for. I patiently explained that some people actually freeze the bagels rather than eat them all in one sitting.
His response? Shovelling down the remaining 2 warm bagels. Well played, mon ami ; ).
It’s gotta be said, Vince and his family are great people. They have graciously housed numerous individuals in their shoppes in exchange for starting up the ovens prior to the first batch being planked in. And that morning Vince patiently taught me how to hand roll, and let’s just say that he never once scoffed at my measly baby size bagels. Mine were a ‘lil fab’. Literally. Rest assured my teeny fab-agels will not be found in your bag as he did put them aside to maintain quality control. Not to mentioned it took me 3 minutes to roll 6 where as Vince has been known to roll 60 bagels in 1 minute.
QUOI?! I’ll guess I’ll never be a professional bagel maker.
What a delight to meet one of the faces behind the famous Montréal delicacy. Monsieur Morena’s café is a wonderful addition to the St-Viateur family of shoppes. Bagel with your choice of toppings & a glass of bière while watching a live televised game followed by taking home a fresh dozen? Oui, svp!
My only complaint is my self restraint.
Vince, help a fille out and think about implementing a Bagel Bouncer.
Mlle Fab agel femme
Far from MTL & want to try the magic of St-Viateur for yourself? Shop online www.stviateurbagel.com. I am open to bribery shippings, but we all know they’ll get ‘lost in the mail’!
**All photographs by Ryan Martin of RWM Photography.**