For a number of people, few things are as delightful as a warm and sunny Saturday morning enjoying talk with friends while feasting on a bagel. One of the food hallmarks of New York City and much of the Western world, the bagel has been decorated with various spreads, cheese products and condiments and has been cherished by young and old, rich and poor alike. Here is your guide to finding the best bagel in town.
- Baking contests and cook-outs. For those searching for the perfect bagel, few places are better than the local baking contests and cook-outs. With people competing for titles and prizes, you can be sure that the bagels and other breads that are made in these contests are top notch. For even higher standards, you can follow the progression which these tournaments make. From neighborhood contests, to city-wide contests, up to even state-wide contests, bagel masters from various locales will showcase their products. At the top levels of the competition, you can expect literally the best of the best. Once you find the bagel, however, be sure to ask for the baker’s contact information so that you will know how to place orders and who to contact.
- Food sales. Some bakers simply have the talent to make a bagel taste so much better than the rest. Some of these bakers are also mothers or housewives that stay in the house most of the time. The only time for you to catch a glimpse, a whiff, and a taste of their products is at the food sales. Whenever a poster announces a local food sale, it is a good idea for you to check out the stalls and tables, just in case a particularly gifted individual happens to showcase her bagels. What may seem to be nothing more than a hobby for these people can be the bagel of your dreams.
- Cafés. Coffee is not created equally – just like bagels – and some are better than others. You should check out the cafes around your area and check for the pastries that they serve with their drinks. While not a perfect rule, cafes that serve better coffee tend to search for equally high-quality pastry products to go along with their products. If you happen to stumble upon a bagel that is just right, you can ask the café owner about information on where he got his bagels. Keep in mind, however, that it is not unusual for cafés to stock pastries according to availability. Cafes will not serve bagels every day.
- Bakeshops. Finally, the bakeshops are your basic hunting grounds for the perfect bagel. With plenty of bakeshops, bakery stores and franchises to begin with, it may be difficult for you to easily visit them all, but with time and patience, it can be done. Remember that bagels are best eaten fresh, preferably while still warm from the oven. Because of this, it is very important for you to visit just a few bakeshops each day, but as early as possible. As bagels grow cold and become stale, their quality quickly deteriorates, after all.
As with the problem faced by the food industry in general, bagels to an extent are a matter of taste. For some, the best bagels are those which have high nutrition value, or those that are baked by serious bagel bakeries, while for others the bagels that are doled out along with the calorie filled muffins in the café are just as good. With some time and dedication, however, you will learn how to distinguish just what makes a bagel a great bagel.