Indulging in a classic Cream Tea has become somewhat of a British tradition since as early as 1662 when Catherine de Braganza married Charles II and made the custom of drinking tea popular. Consisting of scones, jam, cream and of course a good cup of tea, the cream tea has become notorious as British food and is very different from afternoon tea which usually contains finger sandwiches, pastries and cakes amongst other items.
Originating in the South West, the earliest record of a cream tea (or at least a very close relation) stems from Tavistock Abbey in the 11th century. The Abbey took a hit from the Vikings in 997AD and the workers who carried out reconstruction were rewarded by the monks who lived there with bread topped with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
This snack became rather popular and the monks served it to travellers who passed through, many of which were making their way to Cornwall and would have no doubt taken the story of this encounter with them. We believe that over the years it has developed into what we now know and love as the cream tea.
The traditional cream tea really came into its own in the West Country during the 1850s alongside the great tourism boom. This came about after the opening of the railway which brought many visitors to the region. They were seeking relaxation and indulgence and it just so happened that tearooms, hotels and cafes were quite happy to provide everything they sought after including cream teas made using local ingredients, strawberry jam and of course clotted cream!
Cream or jam first? This is what has caused the great Devon and Cornwall divide and a whole lot of controversy when it comes to serving a cream tea. Both counties are renowned for their cream teas and it has almost become a right of passage to indulge in one when visiting the South West.
The Cornish way is to spread the jam onto the scone and then dollop the clotted cream on top. This is the way etiquette gurus Debrett’s say it should be done. The Devonshire way is to spread the cream onto the scone first (like butter on bread) and then the jam goes on top. Whichever way you decide to construct it, we don’t mind (and we won’t tell anyone) so long as you enjoy every little mouthful.
Our Cream Tea Hampers include delicious freshly baked scones, local West Country jams and of course indulgent clotted cream. We have a great choice of different hampers available including the classic Devon Cream Tea for two or four, Luxury Cream Tea Hampers and the Devon Champagne Cream Tea. We also have gluten free, vegan friendly and sugar free options as we like to provide something for everyone. Our hampers make a great gift to send to family or friends but can be equally enjoyed at home.
We hope you have found this article an interesting read. If we have tickled your fancy or you would like to send a cream tea hamper to a friend or family member, then head over to our site, and remember it really doesn’t matter whether you prefer the Cornish way or the Devonshire way!