National Cream Tea Day!
Friday 25th June is National Cream Tea Day - the perfect excuse to go out and enjoy one of England's traditional treats!
The Cream Tea is a famous English treat that includes a pot of tea accompanied by a scone, clotted cream and jam (traditionally strawberry jam). Clotted cream is a very thick cream which is made by heating unpasteurised milk. The Cream Tea is sometimes included as part of the famous Afternoon Tea (along with sandwiches and cakes). Some overseas visitors believe that the Afternoon Tea is a popular treat among the English. In reality it tends to only be enjoyed on special occasions. Cream Teas in contrast are a popular treat - often enjoyed in the summer at fetes and festivals across the country. Go to a cafe in Devon or Cornwall and you will often find the Cream Tea on the menu. I can count on one hand the number of times I have enjoyed an Afternoon Tea, for Cream Teas it would be impossible for me to count!
The counties of Devon and Cornwall both take great pride in their Cream Tea heritage. Historians believe that the Cream Tea was originally invented by monks at Tavistock Abbey in Devon over 1,000 years ago. The abbey at that time had been badly damaged by the Vikings. Locals rallied around to help restore the abbey. To reward them for their work the monks fed them with bread, clotted cream and strawberry jam - leading to the birth of the Devonshire Cream Tea. This treat was so popular that after the abbey was restored the monks continued to offer them to passing travellers - leading to the spread and popularity of our delicious Cream Tea.
Talking about Cream Teas with an Englishman can often lead to some fun debates. First: how do you pronounce the word "scone"? Do you say "skon" or do you rhyme "scone" with "bone"? Second, and most important of all, what do you spread first on the scone: the clotted cream or the jam?! People in Devon are likely to say that you should put the cream first followed by the jam. People in Cornwall however are likely to say that the jam should be spread first followed by the cream. It's a common debate in this country! One argument that I recently heard which I am happy to agree with is that the scones should be served warm and as a result the jam should be added first so that the cream is not affected by the heat. I am however happy to accept which ever way you do it - please just do not eat the scone as a burger - sandwiching the cream and the jam between the 2 halves of the scone! Other etiquettes you should be aware off when having a Cream Tea: do not use a knife to break open the scone - it should break apart with a simple twist; the person nearest the tea-pot is responsible for pouring the tea and don't forget - pour the tea first and then the milk!
Happy National Cream Tea Day! If you would like to enjoy a Cream Tea on one of my tours you may like to check out my Lacock and Castle Combe Tour. I have found some great places to enjoy a Cream Tea on this tour and the Cream Tea is included in the price of the tour :)