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Is a bagel with no hole still a bagel? Montreal's St-Viateur behind cheeky campaign


In a move that's bound to upset many, cream cheese maker Philadelphia is debuting a hole-less bagel with the blessing of some of North America's beloved bagel shops, including Montreal's St-Viateur.

The so-called bagels are being touted as a first-of-its-kind treat that offers breakfast lovers even more room for their favourite cream cheese or schmear of choice.

St-Viateur is the only Canadian bagel maker to partner up for the controversial creations, called "Philadelphia Bagel Wholes." Other partners include Utopia Bagels in New York, Steingold’s in Chicago, Starship Bagel in Dallas and Rubinstein Bagels in Seattle.

"We've heard our fans question why bagels have holes and the limitations it poses for their favourite cream cheese, and we couldn’t agree more," said Keenan White, Philadelphia's senior brand manager, in a news release announcing the campaign.

The limited edition bagels will be sold starting Tuesday until Feb. 12.

Opinions divided

Montrealers seem to be divided on the crazy concoction. Shoppers who were at St-Viateur on Wednesday were on both sides of the great bagel debate.

"No. A bagel with no hole is two pieces of bread put together. No, it's not a bagel," said one bagel lover.

Another bagel aficionado disagreed: "Oh, it's fine. It's the same good flavour and you get a little bit more [bagel], too," she told CTV News.

Some customers were just curious to see what the fuss was about.

"It's a crazy idea. I'm not for it, but I figured I'd try it one time. I'm kind of a traditionalist, but this is something — I figured I'd give it a try," said a man on his way out of the shop.

Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion from the Yidlife Crisis comedy web series have done years of bagel-eating research and are divided on the whole matter. 

"Are you kidding me? More bagel is more bagel!" Elman said Wednesday. "Think about this: more surface area, more cream cheese, more lox, more tomato, more capers, more onions. What's wrong with more?"

Batalion took a different approach, suggesting the cream cheese maker could have put the dough to another use.

"You know where [Philadelphia] should put that dough? In our potholes. They could fill those holes, and then they could put the schmear on top of that because that material's actually more durable than whatever this city is doing. Then, they would be good in my books," he said.

Rabbi Reuben Poupko of the Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation called the new food "outrageous" and "a monstrosity."

He said the origin of the word bagel comes from the German word for bracelet.

"So, by definition, it is round with a hole! That's what a bagel is," he said. "You can't call a bagel a bagel unless it has a hole." 

With files from CTV News Montreal's Christine Long Top Stories

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