Sometimes I receive comments that make me shake my head in a “what was that” kind of movement. Sometime you say things that make me say “yay” or actually snicker out loud. And sometimes I get a bit of a challenge.
The other day, I wrote about bagels in Santiago. And Dorothee, one of the smiliest Germans I had never met wrote a comment saying (roughly) “hey, we make bagels, too.” And the gauntlet was thrown.
I had this vague idea when the year started that I should leave Santiago every month, if only for a day or two. I have lost track of whether or not I’ve done that (I think maybe yes?), but am mostly game for trips out of my favorite South American metropolis. So I hopped the bus to Viña, still so cold-addled as to enjoy the window-staring and sprite zero drinking more than is probably normal. And my friend Cari met me at the bus station, and we ambled over to 9 Norte, 1 Poniente, in Viña (above the Santa Isabel), to check out BagelManía (launches music, turn down volume if you’re at work!), from which the smiley Dorothee had written me.
“Does it smell like bagels?” I had to ask, as I was smell-impaired. I smelled nothing, but could hardly be expected to trust my schnoz. It did not smell like bagels, Cari informed me. All that meant was that they were not currently bageling, but there was a plentiful supply in the baskets under the counter. Some traditional, like sesame, everything (my favorite), and poppyseed, some surely only Chilean, like merquén (smoked hot pepper), which Dorothee later told me are most popular among the gringos, though BagelManía attracts Chileans and foreigners alike.
We ordered the lunch special, a bagel sandwich and a hearty portion (500 ml cup) of fruit salad, with a drink, 2,000 pesos. The cream cheese is home-made, tasty, but not Philadelphia, if that’s what you were expecting. With chives. I had mine with salmon, which was not quite lox, but we are not quite in Nova Scotia, so I wasn’t precisely expecting that.
So, you’re here for the bagel report. The bagels are. Bagely. Chewy, not cakey. Not sweet. Bagels. I had to get some to take home. The bagels are normally 300 CLP apiece, but if you buy a sleeve of 6, it’s only 1500 CLP.
Here are my bagels-in-waiting. I got sesame, olive and merquén to go.
Somewhere between the bagel and fruit salad escapade, we strongarmed Dorothee into sitting down and talking to us. I had to get nosy and ask about the flour. I know that everything we bake in Chile comes out kind of softer and different than when I bake in the states, so I asked if they had to order special flour. It was like asking a painter how he came up with a fabulous new canvas prep technique that changed the face of visual art. In a word, yes. There is not enough gluten content in the flour in Chile to make a good bagel. Research, trial and error and well-traveled wheat (imported from the US and Canada), later, they’ve got their patented flour mix with the right amount of gluten, and the bagels to prove it.
There’s way more to the story, including a flight school in North Carolina and a fateful meeting between Dorothee and her Chilean partner in Toronto (seems to be something in the Canadian water re: bagels), and the baby born two months ago who doesn’t get to eat bagels yet, but surely will as soon as age-appropriate.
They’re several months in, selling well, and with good reason. Verdict: these are very close to the bagels of my youth. The hyper-elasticity of the dough means they don’t roll out as prettily as some, but they refrigerate and toast later like a dream.
My only problem is that I’m going to the states in a couple of weeks and by the time I get there, I will have eaten a baker’s dozen (13) of bagels in the month preceding the trip, and my mom usually waits for me at the airport with a bagel. Maybe I could ask for a bowl of grapenuts instead.
Bagels for you in Viña? Yes, bagels for you in Viña. But not these. These are mine.
Where to get your own: 9 Norte, 1 Poniente, in Viña (above the Santa Isabel)
When: 8 AM to 8 PM, Monday to Friday, and 9AM to 2 PM on Saturdays, closed Sundays.
You didn’t say which was better: Santiago or Viña? Haha 🙂 Glad to see the bagel is slowly but surely making its mark here.
depends if you a) live in Santiago or Viña and b) prefer your bagels pretty but cakier and sweet or not so pretty but chewier. It’s like asking who has better pizza, tiramisú or golfo di napoli. If such a comparison could be made. Either way, they’re a fair sight better than anything you’d get anywhere else or probably make at home, either.
such a good comparison, you know your ‘picadas’ well here in Santiago! 😀
Also interested in knowing which are better. I didn’t have to “strong arm” Dorothy about the flour, she was quite forthcoming about it. Definitely can tell when you bite into the bagels that they have access to high-gluten flour. Should go there today.
well, maybe it was that I felt like a jerk asking about the flour, more than strong-arming her. She’s a smart cookie, and wouldn’t tell the story if she didn’t want to. So smiley! And I repeat, it depends on your bagel background. But these are new yorkier, which makes sense, since the Montreal Bagel people are remaking the montreal bagel, not the new york one. We should do a bagel exchange. We could meet in Curacaví under cover of darkness. Password: gluten.
Mmmm!! new, undiscovered food!
I know, and this time in Viña, a place you go often. Hope you get to try them sometime! Tell Dorothee I sent you!
I will! Mmmm cheese!
wow you found more! congrats! that’s as excited as i can be for you because i don’t know if i would even try them, they look like media lunas to me.. and i hate those 🙂
have you seen this video of peruvians in peru, nebraska? i think it’s awesome, but you might disagree.. wonder if there’s a chile, alabama or something xD
oh no pía, nothing like medialunas. Medialunas are just four and butter. These are a leavened bread, which is formed into its shape, then boiled, and later baked. If I had to compare them to a bread here I’d say they’re between rescoldo and hallullas. Doughy and dense, chewy. Plus they’re my childhood breakfast! Thanks for commenting, btw! I’m not sure if there’s a town called Chile, but it might be worth a look!
but are those things sweet? i mean, ive seen these a million times in the US and never felt like trying them (do they taste like donuts? i don’t like donuts (in any flavor).. i guess im just weird.. cuz if u make me choose between a hersheys box and just a spoon of ceviche, id go for the ceviche… im all about SALT+LEMON. that’s why i also don’t like all ur salad dressings! where do u keep the lemons!!!??? anyways, if theyre not sweet id love them with some JB mustard, mayo, tomato, avocado, ketchup & chicken/or meat.. or maybe soaked in lemon and with some salmon!! TASTY!
not sweet! I mean, no sweeter than regular bread (though the montreal bagels are slightly sweeter). There are sweet varieties (cinnamon raisin, for example), but they are generally like bread, and eaten as open faced sandwiches, or as whole sandwiches. They don’t taste like donuts. I’m more about salty than sweet as well, so I can understand your concern. Are you in Viña or Santiago? Go try them!
A bagel throw-down in Chile. I love it… even if I can’t taste test from here :/
you’re closer to the source, it would seem. Or else you’ve got some other tasty breads to try out. BTW, haven’t been keeping track, are you headed to TBEX? I am. Hope they make it worth my/our while!
I am so glad you seem to have finally found an acceptable bagel! It is a bit far from home, but if they freeze well you just have to stock up.
Do not recall ever eating a bagel at any time in my life though have learnt that US expats have a fascination for them. Anyone care to give a reason why? Is it because you are brought up on them? Seriously, I’m interested in learning what the deal is.
I do think it’s because we grew up on them. IN fact, they’re often given to babies when they’re teething, as they’re hard to bite into (with a tiny mouth and just a couple of teeth). Surely there must be some NZ correlate to a foodstuff you can’t or don’t get here? Other than TimTams, I mean.
I never had a bagel until I was over 30 and still love them. I don’t know that I would go all the way to Viña for one, but maybe that is the difference between a bagel-from-birth consumer and a latecomer.
Well, I went to Viña for other reasons as well, and I do generally like it there, otherwise I might not have gone just for the bagels. Glad to know a relative latecomer can still fall in love with our beloved round, boiled snack.
While some people are trying to leave an impression that there is some sort of a duel between Vina and Santiago I am of a completely different opinion. I do greatly appreciate the effort of Dorothy in Vina. She is a great entrepreneur and I wish her all the best!
If we want to introduce bagel as the staple item to the local chilean market than we need all the help from each of us for a joint push. So, if there will be another ten bakeries in Santiago making bagels, I will be just glad! The only enemy to us will be an entry to the market of a Big Guy. With machinery and all that! They will kill the nascent tastes for bagels and will be making some very average and indistinguishable pieces of a baked dough. (claiming, of course being original, ha-ha)
BTW, I will use the first opportunity to visit Vina and greet the owner in her domain.
I am really curious!
I totally agree. I don’t prefer one over there other, they’re just different. Also, it’s not like I’m going to wake up one morning craving a bagel in Santiago and take a 1.5 hour busride to get one. Likewise if I’m in Vina, I’m not going to get on a bus to come to Santiago. I think it’s just the competitive human element where people want you to pronounce one to be “the best.” I hope you do get to meet up sometime. As you know, you and I haven’t met, but I’d be happy to come by and chat sometime, and Dorothee is lovely, very positive, and (like you) quite enthusiastic about the bagels!
Thank you Eileen for all the bagel-enthusiasts you´ve sent my way! I´ve heard a few “Eileen told me to come here…” during the last months. If you´d like to (or know anybody who would be interested:) I have improved my “spectacular” bagels quite a bit and have a new product on the market: the frozen pre-baked bagel and am looking for a distributer in Santiago. No worries Mark, I´m still a far cry from being being the “BigGuy”, but improving slowly! lol
Thanks for popping by. I would love to come by and try the bagels again! They’re perfect for winter. I’ll let you know when I can make it, but sadly not until at least late August it’s looking like. Keep bageling, and glad to hear that people are coming in and mentioning my name. I wonder who they are! Readers? Out thyselves!
I’M GOING TO VIÑA DEL MAR AND TRY THE BAGELS.
i’M CHILEAN BUT I LIVED IN USA FOR 15 YEARS, AND i HAVEN’T GOT A CHANCE TO EAT ONE FOR 6 YEARS…. MAHALO FOR THE TIPS