by Vivian Holding
You’d be forgiven for thinking like me, that bagels originate from the USA. The real origins of bagels date back to the 17th century in Eastern European Jewish communities. The word bagel comes from the word beigen, the Yiddish verb meaning to bend. Traditionally shaped by hand into the form of a ring, roughly the size of a hand, what sets them apart from traditional bread is that they are boiled in water for a short time and then baked. This results in a denser dough with an outer crust, which is eaten either in its plain form or is topped with poppy or sesame seeds. Why the hole? It is thought to have helped market sellers to handle and transport them more easily and to allow for a more visually pleasing display, as they were often threaded through strings or placed on top of each other on dowels.
As much as I love trying out new recipes, making bagels I feel is a job for the experts (I don’t even make home-made bread, seems crazy when we have such amazing boulangeries selling such delicious bread here in France and Switzerland).
The best places in Geneva to get your bagel fix:
(bagelstein.com) Centre Commercial Balexert, 27 Avenue Louis Casaï, 1211 Genève
The newest and freshest bagels can be found at Bagestein in the Balexert Centre. Opened on 7th March 2017, this is their second restaurant in Switzerland (there is also a branch in Nyon should this be a more convenient location for you).
Choosing which type of bagel is your first decision (there are seven different to choose from – nature, wholemeal, cereal, sesame, poppyseed, cheese or shallot), then the fillings:
- Isidore – Cream Cheese, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Mozzarella Cheese & Marinated Peppers
- Henriette – Cream Cheese, Tuna Mousse, Cucumber & Tomato
- Hypolite – Cream Cheese, Poulet, Tomates & Cornichons
- Leontine – Cream Cheese, Smoked Salmon, Cucumber & Onions
- Gab – Cream Cheese, Pastrami, Marinated Peppers & Onions
- Fitness – Light Cream Cheese, Cucumber, Tomato, Smoked Chicken & Red Onions (on a wholemeal Bagel)
- Albertine – choose your own filling
They also sell their bagels unfilled, should you wish to take some home with you. They offer 1 free bagel if you buy 5 or 3 free bagels if you buy 10. I would highly recommend buying some and stock up your freezer, as they defrost and toast wonderfully and taste absolutely delicious.
Opening hours Monday-Friday from 10am-3.30pm.
BAGEL HOUSE CAFÉ
(bagelhousecafe.ch) Passage Malbuisson, rue du Marché, 1204 Genève
Freshly filled bagels, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies and amazing coffee are on offer in this café, located in the Passsage Malbuisson in the centre of town. The main counter for ordering your freshly filled bagel is situated downstairs at the entrance of the café. There is also a separate counter to order a quick coffee to take out, if you don’t have time to sit upstairs in their spacious loft style seating area.
Whether you opt for a breakfast bagel (scrambled egg, bacon and cheddar) with a wake me up coffee (they are open from 7am 6 days a week) or choose a traditional cream cheese and smoked salmon bagel for lunch (the Montréal), there’s a bagel filling to suit every taste.
Me? I opted for the Cancùn (Smoked Salmon, Guacamole, Lettuce and Tomato on a muesli bagel) with a Mango Love smoothie (a mix of orange, mango and raspberry). Both absolutely delicious! Delivery is also available via smood.ch. They also sell unfilled bagels to take away.
Opening hours Monday-Friday 7am-7pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, closed Sunday.
(hansecafe.ch) 30 rue Ancienne, 1227 Genève
Situated in Carouge, this adorable café serves a select choice of five different bagels, served on their own or with a salad. Homemade and artisanal using local carefully selected products, the bagels are generously filled with a choice of either herb cream cheese (the simplest of their bagel selection), a vegetarian bagel (filled with herb cream cheese, salad and pan fried onions, aubergine and courgettes), an egg and bacon bagel (herb cream cheese, salad, onions, egg and bacon), a cheese bagel (herb cream cheese, salad and a choice of goats cheese or gruyere cheese) and lastly the classic (and in my opinion, the best) smoked salmon bagel (herb cream cheese, salad, onions and smoked salmon).
In addition to bagels, they also offer delicious breakfasts, a plat du jour, patisseries, a Sunday brunch and a great selection of coffee, teas and an amazing choice of Valrhona hot chocolate (dark, milk or white chocolate).
Opening hours Tuesday-Saturday 8am-7.30pm, Sunday 10am-6pm, closed Monday.
Cornavin (16 rue du Mont-Blanc, 1011 Genève)
Bel-Air (1 rue de la Cité, 1204 Genève)
Rive 1 (rue du Vieux-Collège 1204 Genève)
Eaux-Vives (Centre Commercial Eaux-Vives 2000, 3 rue de Jargonnant, 1204 Genève)
Acacias (43 route des Acacias, 1204 Genève)
Edward’s opened their first restaurant here in 1996, over 20 years ago. They have now grown the business to five different locations around the City. They take immense pride in their three main principles – quality, freshness and variety. Their choice of bagel fillings is extensive, with choices such as Tuna Mayo, Turkey, Turkey & Cheese, Pastrami & Cheddar Cheese, Chicken and Bacon, Grilled Cheese and Tomato, Ham and Avocado or you can compile your own with any of the ingredients they have on offer. They offer gluten free bagels, a delivery service as well as a huge variety of other items on the menu (sandwiches, wraps, burgers, soups, salads, fries, desserts, hot and cold drinks and sandwich platters for office meetings).
Opening hours at all branches (except Mont-Blanc) Monday-Friday 7.30am-6.00pm, Saturday 9am-6pm, closed Sunday.
Mont-Blanc Monday-Saturday 7am-11pm, Sunday 9am-7pm.