As I have posted several times before, the best bagels in the universe are made at Carmelli's in Golder's Green in NW London, England. They have a dense, chewy texture that is tasty and substantial (see here and here for two of my previous postings about their bagels). The fact that this is at least my third posting about Carmelli's reveals how much I like their bagels.
In the summer of 2009, I made two trips to Carmelli's: the initial exploration and a final expedition, just before returning to Canada.
This summer, I made three trips to Carmelli's. The first one is described here. The second one occurred while Peggy was visiting me. We caught a field trip bus from the castle up to London, then took the tube to Golder's Green, where we bought a half dozen cheese, two salmon (for Peggy), a dozen plain, and a dozen poppy seed. We were on our way to a cricket-match field trip to Lord's Cricket Ground, and I planned to share the bagels with my students, whom we were meeting there.
We met the students at 11am and after all the greetings and introductions, I passed out the bagels. They all agreed the bagels were the best they had ever tasted. They raved about them so much that the students who had passed on the initial offering asked if they could have one, too. Those who were lucky enough to claim a bagel early got the ones with creamed cheese; those who received bagels later got their choice of plain or poppy seed (both were still warm from the bakery, in my shoulder bag!). As I said, they all loved them. I must say, I had a poppy seed bagel and because it was so warm and fresh I really enjoyed it even though I still prefer the plain bagels from Carmelli's.
I had maybe a dozen bagles left when I boarded a castle minibus that afternoon to return to Herstmonceux. I passed out most of these to people on the bus, who gratefully received them and thoroughly enjoyed them. As you might imagine, the few bagels that were left by the time I was back at my residence disappeared quickly.
But that was not my last visit to Carmelli's this summer. My third trip came en route to Heathrow airport. I bought some plain bagels with cheese for the journey and a couple of salmon bagels for Ms. Eclectic, along with two dozen plain bagels for home. The plain bagels with creamed cheese saw me through a long journey home (lucky thing the customs officials don't have salmon-sniffing dogs!). And the two dozen plain bagels were divided into small groups and frozen. We now have four plain bagels left. We have totally enjoyed them in part, thanks to information provided in the comments by MA here.
If you are ever anywhere near London, England, budget enough time for a visit to Carmelli's. You will not regret it.