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Bagel is a funny sounding word and has never seemed right for a food product to me, but then at one time I associated curry more with grooming a horse than a spicy meal. I’ve never eaten bagels before and decided when I saw them on the shelf at Spar to fill a gap in my food education as well as my tummy. I wasn’t impressed with the £1.09 price, far more expensive than the packs of 4 currant buns of comparative size sitting next to them that I was originally going to buy but I was feeling adventurous and didn’t worry about forking out 40 or so pence more.
There was a choice of original or cinnamon and raisin. Original sounded boring so I plumped for the cinnamon and raisin 4 pack that was decorated with with white stars on a purple background. The original and other flavours have a different colour background and they all have a picture of the statue of liberty on the front. Of course that along with the company name is intended to make you believe that the product is made in New York, but really they are manufactured in Peterborough under licence from the New York Bagel Co. with a claim to an authentic taste and being truly American yeh yeh.
The outer wrapper is a thin polythene bag, see through down the sides and the contents more yukky looking than naughty. The yellow tape at the top told me that the sell by date was 8 days later and I figured out 6 days longer than your average currant teacake which usually has a 2 day sell by date when they reach the shop shelves. A
good selling point for me because I don’t always eat things straight away and 4 currant teacakes in 2 days plus one for them to get stale is 3 too many for me.
When I opened the wrapper and peered in I was very disgruntled. I didn’t know that bagels had odd shaped holes in the middle and hadn’t noticed that from the picture on the wrapper. I can just about accept holes in Polo mints because they aren’t as expensive as some of the other more complete mints. Doughnuts I don’t give a monkeys about because I don’t like and don’t buy them. Bagels well that’s a different matter, they aren’t so cheap and I tend to think a hole in the middle as a gimmick offering more profits to manufacturers with less mixture used.
Rant over I’ll take a look at the blighters. They are around the same size as doughnuts but in appearance look more like a cross between bread and my mums currant scones but meaner on the fruit. Very mean actually with only 4 raisins peeking out at me. The smell of cinnamon is quite strong and not very pleasant. Peg needed on nose I decided to split and toast one as the pack recommends.
I had to use a very sharp knife to cut one open without it falling apart and was nearly knocked out by the strong smell of cinnamon that flew out at first slit. The golden brown on the outside is in complete contrast to the offputting pale murky brown interior. The texture is coarse looking and far heavier than currant teacakes, more like stale scones with the fruit gone missing. Horrible to look at and not at all tempting but as I was out of bread and milk and needed something for breakfast I persevered and toasted my bagel.
You are advised to spread light Philadelphia cheese on each half – maybe they have a deal with that company or are part of the same one. Cautious I used Philly on one half and low fat spread on the other. The light Philly half was indescribably foul – think of one of a certain Bradford member’s hate food ops! Undaunted I tried the low fat spread half and found it more edible.
Because it smelt so strongly I thought that it might be too cinnamon tasting but it was a perfect amount for me. It didn’t taste of anything else except for the odd mini burst of raisins. Only noticeable I’m sure if you are looking for them, but maybe the fruit got lost in the hole.
The next day I accidentally burnt my breakfast bagel and covered the scorch marks with butter. It tasted nicer with butter but maybe that was the burnt bits. I noticed that the rare bits of fruit stayed soft, better than burnt currant teacakes where the fruit goes hard. The butter didn’t melt as it normal does with anything else toasted but maybe bagels don’t hold heat very well.
Several days later I’ve just eaten the third bagel spread with butter and enjoyed it as much but not more than far cheaper toast. It’s been a nice change but I’m getting bored with them and will freeze the last one to save for when I run out of bread.
For the health conscious they weigh in at 231 calories per bagel and claim to be 98.4% fat free, the rest probably got lost down the hole. They seemed quite filling at first but each time I’ve eaten one I’ve felt peckish after a couple of hours. So unless I had 2 for my breakfast (which I wouldn’t because they are too dry) they are no more filling than snacks but more calorific than crisps or many chocolate bars. Healthier with less fat though.
Apparently there are other flavours available like Poppy, Sesame and an organic original, one of my workmates told me that there was a chocolate flavour but that could have been a mirage. Another member has mentioned that there is an onion flavour, now that I would like to try.
Other serving suggestions are with jam or black and green grapes with light Philadelphia. Maybe more fruit would improve the taste and make my mouth feel less dry.
Would I buy them again? Only once in a blue moon when I fancy a change. At £1.09 for 4 they aren’t that good value for money but they are suitable for vegetarians.
Availability: Apart from Spar I’ve seen them on sale in Morrisons and as they came with the Warburtons delivery I would guess that they could be found in some of the shops that stock Warburtons bread.
I hovered between 3 and 4 stars but the severe shortage of raisins knocked my rating down to 3 stars. I did quite like them else I wouldn't have eaten more than one so I guess I'll have to recommend them to potential buyers at a pinch.