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Encore: Finding — or making — the best bagels in and around Vermont

A stack of bagels are pictured.
In this encore rebroadcast, host Mikaela Lefrak talks with local bagel makers about the tricks of their trade, and hears from listeners about the best bagels in our region.

For the carb lovers among us, almost nothing inspires more passionate debate than bagels. What’s better, small Montreal bagels, chewy New York ones or bagels from the bakery in your town? Can homemade bagels come close? This hour, we bite into the great bagel debate and explore the best bagels in our region.

In this rebroadcast from March, we hear from an Upper Valley resident about how her pandemic bagel-making hobby turned into a new career. We learn the art of making a traditional Montreal-style bagel from one of the most renowned bagel makers in Vermont. And we learn a recipe for bagels that was crowned King Arthur Flour’s recipe of the year.

Later in the hour, we’ll also hear about a new children’s book from Montpelier-based writer Randi Hacker about AB(zero)C: A Low-Carbon Footprint Alphabet, which teaches the ABCs and suggests ways children can reduce their families' carbon emissions.

King Arthur Baking Company is a Vermont Public underwriter.

Here are bagel recommendations from when the show first aired in May:

Jonathan in Norwich, Vermont: "Chris Calvin of Baker’s Studio in Hartland makes the best NY-style bagels in the Northeast. Most others are simply too big, too sweet, rolls with holes. And please don’t toast a fresh bagel."

Stephan in Brattleboro, Vermont: "I like either rosemary or everything bagel, double toasted, lightly buttered with avocado spread from Bruegger's Bagels."

Josh in Ludlow, Vermont: "The new(ish) baker at Brownsville Butcher and Pantry, Tim Shulga, makes batches that rival the best of NYC or Montreal. [F]or us it's a 45-minute drive. And up here, that's nothing for a legit bagel."

Allison in Peru, New York: "I am hoping to make a pilgrimage soon to either St.-Viateur or Fairmount, even though their offerings don't match my fond memory of the Faubourg deliciousness... I will be excited to throw carb caution to the wind as I joyfully celebrate the lifting of COVID restrictions on cross-border travel. Long Live Montreal bagels, bon appetit!!"

Joy in Vermont: "Even though I was born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, I have come to love and prefer — and crave — Myer’s Bagels. So much so that when I spent a month in Brooklyn last year and then in Lower Manhattan for another month, my friends and family kept giving me grief because try as I might, I couldn't find a NYC bagel that I enjoyed as much as Myer's!"

Doretta: "Middlebury Bagel and Deli."

Vicky: "I like to think that I've tried most of the bagels in the surrounding Chittenden County region, and Willow's Bagels in Burlington are my absolute favorites. They're big and fluffy inside with that perfect crispy crust and their cream cheese even has a unique sourness to it that I haven't found at other bagel shops. I regularly make the trip there to stock my freezer for the next week or two. New to the VT bagel scene is Huddy's in Milton. It's exciting to have a bagel option closer to home now too! We've already visited three times and are looking forward to their grand opening and expanded menu."

Alex: "I have been delighted by K.C.’s [Bagel Cafe] in Waterbury for years. Great assortment & really friendly staff."

Maureen in Rochester, Vermont: "Sandy’s Books and Bakery in Rochester, Vermont, is our go-to bagel place. We love the salt and pepper bagels."

Samantha in Stowe, Vermont: "Two Sons Bakehouse in Jeffersonville and Hyde Park."

Buddy: "Wally's Place in South Hero."

Dan in Colchester, Vermont: "Feldman's Bagels in Burlington."

Kate in Essex, Vermont: "I wanted to give a shout out to West Meadow Farm Gluten Free Farm Bakery in Essex, VT. They make a variety of fresh, gluten free bagels every Saturday morning and have even met our seasonal requests for gingerbread bagels! They are a great option for those with gluten restrictions."

This encore rebroadcast aired at noon on Friday, July 8; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet us @vermontedition.

Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Tedra worked on Vermont Edition as a producer and editor from 2022 to 2024.