(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.