The Montreal Bagel Challenge: St-Viateur vs. Fairmont

(above image credit : St-Viateur painting by Carole Spandau, Fairmont painting from their website)

If you're from Montreal, you probably know about the old St-Viateur vs. Fairmont Bagel debate. Most Montrealers are very opinionated about this topic. Ask them the question and you will get a very passionate, instantaneous response, such as, "Obviously _______ is better! There's no question about it!"
So this got my little scientific mind working, and I thought I should put this to the test in the Ladygrey kitchen. Is one bagel really that much better than the other? I was determined to find out.
So yesterday morning I visited both bagel shops and bought a dozen sesame bagels from each. Both establishments were inviting and friendly. Both were equally busy at 7am. Both cashiers agreed without hesitation to my taking a picture in there (which, I think, is a sign of good-naturedness). All in all, it was a pleasant experience. 

And now for the taste test challenge:
I blind-folded some of my gracious friend volunteers and placed two lightly-toasted bagel halves in front of them, one from St-Viateur and one from Fairmont. (Don't people look funny eating with blind-folds on!)
Now I was expecting 50-50 results, but I couldn't have been more wrong!
5 out of 6 taste testers picked St-Viateur Bagels over Fairmont. I was so shocked! 
Now let me say this: everyone had a lot of difficulty making the choice. Everyone felt that both bagels tasted delicious and were very similar, but when forced to make a choice St-Viateur clearly won.

And me? Apparently I was the odd one out who picked Fairmont. I have no idea why, or what this says about me. All I know is that I have a freezer full of left-over bagels and I will eat them all, whole-heartedly, regardless of which bagel shop they came from.


  1. I volunteer my services anytime you have any more taste test challenges. It was great. And obviously cool kids like St- Viateurs while only nerds like Fairmont.

  2. We look so silly! That was so fun - let's do more taste testing!

  3. I guess I shouldn't have doubted you, Mark, you knew you would choose St-Viateur.
    I think we should definitely do more of these taste tests... if you have any ideas, let me know ; )

    Thanks for featuring one of my paintings of St. Viateur Bagel. Please visit my online gallery, CAROLE SPANDAU at FINEARTAMERICA.You can purchase prints and original oil paintings. I specialize in all the well known Montreal landmarks like Wilenskys, Schwartzs,Beautys, etc, and Hockey scenes.If you are in Montreal, please call my studio for an appointment at 514-486-0731,thanks, Carole.

  5. omgoodness! i need to go home, love fairmount don;t mind the line at 3am!

  6. Hey ladygrey. Love checking up on what's the latest of your simple pleasures and curiousities. You are so lucky to have St. Viateur or Fairmont bagels at hand! I live in N.Ireland and bagels are bread with holes in it...nice bread, but not bagels! Hope to be there this summer and bite into a fresh bagel! Love your photos of Ireland and Wales ...and those spring images. Lovely! Caroline


Any thoughts? I so love to hear from you!

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