So a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited to a local blogger event at Bruegger's Bagels, a local bakery and restaurant where their bagels are baked fresh all day, every day. We got to meet with Executive Chef Phillip Smith and learn all about his secrets to making the best bagels ever. He was very passionate about his bagels, the ingredients, and the bagel-making process. These bagels are the best - crisp on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside, with all kinds of different flavors.
Now for the photos from that day:
Chef showing us their special cream cheeses. They tend to be more stiff than say other brand cream cheeses because they leave the whey in. Their cream cheeses are made in Vermont with pure, fresh milk and real ingredients like veggies and walnuts kept crisp without preservatives through their direct set process. We got to sample the smoked salmon (which wasn't as fishy as I was expecting and was actually pretty good!), garden veggie, and honey walnut.
Regular ingredients vs Bruegger's Bagels ingredients:
Piles of bagels! I want them all! Plus the basic ingredients that are in Bruegger's Bagels: water, barley malt, salt, flour, and yeast.
We also were the first to try their new Morning Glory Bagel, which has raisins, apple butter, carrots, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon sticks all baked into this glorious bagel. It was perfection served fresh and warm with some honey walnut cream cheese on it!
After a presentation and bagel+cream cheese taste testing, we headed back to the kitchen area to get the behind the scenes scoop. It was so cool to see how it all comes together and to learn their method for top notch bagels, which is to start by kettle-boiling the bagels, and then baking them in the oven. Boiling is the key to that perfect crisp shell, they say.
Blueberry bagels ready for boiling. The large boiling pot and stirrer. Bagels about to meet their fate.
These bagels were about to become sesame bagels.
Baking away in the oven; the baker pulling them outta the oven; and the beautiful finished product.
Only the perfect survive. Any bagels that have misshapen holes, aren't the right color, or any other flaws won't be sold. Here's Heather from The Food Hussy showing us what a sad bagel looks like, with her sad face :(
We also got to try a strata using their day old bagels, or "Last Night's Bagels" as they call them. Day-old bagels work well in this kinda strata. This Sriracha Egg Strata was delicious as well (it may be the same as this Spicy Ham, Red Pepper & Sriracha Strata recipe on their site).
Another perk of this blogger event was meeting fellow Cincinnati bloggers! I was already a follower of Erin's blog, A Bird and a Bean, and just didn't know she was a local blogger! So cool! And OF COURSE I've been following Heather's blog, The Food Hussy, for quite some time now. I mean come on, she's only #1 on Urbanspoon in Cincinnati. No big deal :) We've been running into each other lately at these blogger events, as I met her for the first time at the Firehouse Subs blogger event. I LOVE to meet fellow foodies. Some people just don't understand my passion for food and this blog, but these people get me :) Proof? This photo below of fellow bloggers getting shots of bagels and cream cheese and ingredients and stratas, you know, only things that bloggers do :)
Here's their bagel line-up (not all of them, I couldn't get them all in one shot). I have tried a majority of them and my faves are the Rosemary Olive Oil, Jalapeno Cheddar, Cheddar Pesto, and Asiago Parmesan (which is good topped with a sweet cream cheese like the honey walnut... love the contrast of the cheeses with the honey flavor!).
The fabulous Bruegger's Bagels team. So friendly and seems like they love their job! I mean, I would love to be surrounded by hot, fresh bagels everyday too!
Here's all of us bloggers - some foodie blogs, some mommy blogs. Left to right: Nedra of Adventure Mom Blog, Executive Chef Phillip Smith, Erin of A Bird and A Bean, Courtney of Optimistic Mommy, Kristin of It's Free At Last, me, and Heather of The Food Hussy.
They were gracious enough to let us take home a goodie bag with tons of goodies in it! We got some tubs of cream cheese (I chose bacon and scallion *MY FAVE!!*, salmon, and honey walnut). If I could put that bacon and scallion cream cheese on everything, I would. We also took home a half dozen bagels of our chose (really 7 bagels). I got a couple Rosemary Olive Oils, a Jalapeno Cheddar, a Cinnamon Sugar, a Cinnamon Raisin, an Asiago Parmesan, and an Onion bagel. Plus some coupons for future visits. Plus we got to take home their new Sriracha Egg Sandwich, freshly made. We were the first to try that as well. They are too good to us!
My goodie bag + the new Sriracha Egg Sandwich. Yes, please!
This was an amazing blogging experience and I hope to be invited back for more! I have been in love with Bruegger's Bagels for quite some time so it was an honor to be invited to this event. I even reviewed it two years ago (need to update the photos though, I lost them along with many other photos from old posts). See, even back then I was ranting and raving over their bagels and cream cheese.
This must be love.
Peace, and 'bacon scallion' grease!