When I think pretzels, I definitely don’t think of Montreal. There just aren’t enough of them to start trending. Before La Pretzelleria, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any – the ones at the movie theaters and the Bell Center don’t count. But with the recent addition of our very own pretzel shop, I wonder, do they have what it takes to launch pretzel mania?
Brought to us by a lovely Romanian couple, this humble bakery on the Plateau is dedicated to all things pretzel. A decent selection of savory and sweet pretzels, $2.00 apiece, are baked fresh every morning, and in small batches throughout the day. Come and get ‘em as early as 11:00am. The set up is a basic as they come: kitchen, counter, a few stools against the wall and a shelf topped with communal bottles of condiments to liven things up, French’s yellow mustard included.
On a recent trip, I picked up Salt, Sesame, Poppy Seeds, Multigrain, Cumin, Cinnamon and Nescafé Espresso. Unfortunately, Olive wasn’t available. Besides the minor embellishments, they all tasted the same, the dough plain and a little bland. Not surprisingly, Salt was my favorite because the speckling of course salt gave it the seasoning it needed. Also, it went straight from the oven into my hands, giving it a leaping lead over the rest with its golden brown crust, and soft, dense and steamy middle. But somehow, it still was missing the it factor, and that was after the addition of mustard. By the time I got around to the others, they turned hard and tough to chew. Womp womp. I wasn’t impressed. They weren’t bad. They just weren’t what I hoped for.
The Cheese Pretzel ($2.50), pillowy dough wrapped around cheese and rolled in sesame seeds, was a small step up from the regular pretzels. It could have done with more cheese because I’m fat like that, but in my mind, there’s nothing oozy cheese can’t make better. Be sure to get it hot. There’s no other way to eat it.
The Hot Dog Pretzel ($2.50), the perfect subject for French’s yellow mustard, was pretty straightforward – baked bread, a salty hot dog and cracking poppy seed.
I won’t make the mistake of buying pretzels by the bagful again unless I have to feed a crowd right then and there. With absolutely no exceptions, pretzels should be eaten as soon as they come off the heat, blistered and hot, soft underneath a gentle crunch exterior. They harden and toughen the longer they sit around, so if you get a whole set only to eat it later, you might as well be feeding on rubber and rocks. I learnt that the hard way. My advice? If the queue of customers doesn’t overwhelm the workers, kindly ask them to prepare (not re-heat) one on the spot. It’ll take a few minutes, but the knotted beauty that comes out fresh is as good as La Pretzelleria products are going to get. Attack this portable snack street side or grab a bottle of mustard and pull up a stool at the counter. Rip, dip and repeat. As for me, I’m pretty sure it’ll be a while before I return. But when I do, Salt or Cinnamon all the way.
25 avenue du Mont-Royal Est | map