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Montreal a metropolis of 4 million people, the second largest French speaking city in the World after Paris, has a Jewish population that has been part of the fabric of the city for over 200 years. Almost every neighbourhood of the city has a Jewish population with its businesses, schools, synagogue, restaurants, delis, institutions and the Jewish general hospital. As a child I lived in Snowdon where there was a large Jewish population, other neighbourhoods like Hamstead, Côte Saint-Luc, Westmount, NDG and Outremont all have their Jewish enclave and because the population has been there for such a long time, it has developed its own character and ways of doing things. Jewish owned businesses in Montreal, you always have service in French, English and Yiddish.

Montreal is known for the quality of its Smoke Meat and its bagels. I could not leave Montreal without a dozen bagels. So I went to the St-Viateur street in Outremont, the area has, for as long as I can remember, a large Orthodox Jewish population dressed in the famous black garb and fur hats. Outremont is a wealthy French speaking neighbourhood and the Orthodox Jews are simply part of the fabric.

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Bagel St-Viateur  (since 1957)

263 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest, Montréal, QC, Canada

Ouvert 24h/24, 7 jours sur 7

(514) 276-8044

It is an institution in Montreal and a remarkable one at that, the bagels as you can see in this photo above are hot, fresh, just out of the oven. Even when they but them in a bag, you feel the heat and that wonderful aroma of just baked. A Polish Jew, Myer Lewkowicz who immigrated to Canada in 1946 learned the trade of making bagels from Hyman Seligman who was already in the business. Mr Lewkowicz explained that when he arrived in Canada, he knew nothing of bagel making, it became his lifelong trade.

The Montreal Bagel is different from the New York one, first it’s smaller, sweeter and the  hole is bigger. Quality ingredients go into making them, the pastry is hand rolled, they are boiled in water with honey, they are cooked on a wood tray in a wood oven, they are turned over once and taken out at just the right moment when crunchy. They make 3 dozen bagels per hour in the oven. A perfect bagel takes 20 minutes to cook, a slow process but what quality! Same family, same recipe and the original shop on St-Viateur.

St-Viateur Bagel is world famous and today in Montreal there is 2 bakeries and 5 coffee shops where sandwiches and salads are served just like in 1957 when they first opened.  WEBSITE http://www.stviateurbagel.com