Back in the day, there used to be a pretzel stand in the middle of Kingsway Mall on the second floor. Whenever my parents brought us out shopping, we would end the trip with a warm soft pretzel. It's probably been more than a decade since the stand closed, but you could say that pretzels have had a soft spot in my heart since childhood.
When Wetzel's Pretzels opened up a location in WEM, the line-ups were pretty intense. Clearly Edmontonians have a love affair with pretzels, as they had been deprived for so long.
While mall pretzels are good and all, you can't really beat the love and quality that comes from a locally-owned small business. Enter Zwick's Pretzels, a new addition to the culinary epicentre of 124th Street.
Owners Darren Zwicker and Maria Chau are the duo responsible for the new pretzel hysteria in town, as they put their own twist on the beloved snack. They've been slammed since opening and probably didn't expect the demand. But when pretzels are part of the equation, they have my full, undivided attention.
The shop is small digs, with one bench and a table with only six stools. Most business seems to be grab and go.
Pretzels are their bread and butter, and they offer three types: basic, dusted, and cheese. Prices are cheap, only $2-3 each, and even cheaper still if you buy them by the dozen. Dips are also available for purchase, a dollar a pop, with flavours like beer cheese, garlic aioli, and horseradish cream. They also supply a daily assortment that is free to squeeze in-store.
If you're craving more than a snack, Zwick's also serves soups, salads, and sandwichzels, a variety of sandwiches served on a pretzel bun.
We ended up trying three of their pretzels. A mistake, because we really should've gone for more.
The pretzels are smaller than your average mall pretzel, about the size of my hand. They're soft and chewy, with a slight crusty outside. The savoury garlic pretzel ($2.50), studded with real garlic bits and parsley, was delicious and oh so buttery. I can't imagine if we ate them while they were still warm, but I guess a quick nuke in the microwave or toaster oven can remedy that.
If I had to choose a favourite, this would be it. The cheddar & black pepper ($3.00) is worth the extra money. The grated cheddar is baked right on top, leaving you with crispy bits of cheese to nibble on. The sprinkle of black pepper is the perfect amount to make a difference but to not detract. I think the next pretzel I have to try is the spicy scallion and mozza!
Another dusted pretzel -- this one, the sour cream & onion ($2.50). My sister's favourite chip flavour so it wasn't a surprise that she picked this one. Nothing too exciting about this flavour but I liked how it wasn't too salty or harsh as most sour cream and onion powders can be.
I hear they've been selling out of pretzels daily so run, don't walk, to Zwick's Pretzels. It'll help burn some of the calories that you'll be consuming anyways.