The Story of Cream Tea
Cream Tea consists of Scones served with clotted cream and jam and a pot of Tea. It is very similar to Afternoon Tea aka High Tea although quite separate. Cream Tea is also named after countries who claimed to have invented it: Devonshire tea, Devon cream tea and Cornish cream tea.
The earliest record of Cream Tea was found in ancient manuscripts quite recently indicating the dish was first created by the monks of Tavistock's Benedictine Abbey in the 10th Century. They were first served to local workmen who helped repair the Abbey after substantial damage and later to passing travellers.
Devon and Cornwall varieties are in fact quite different. The Cornish variety doesn’t use a scone but a mildly sweet bread roll. AND most controversially the Devonshire version involves covering the scone in cream first with the jam on top while the Cornish version involves buttering the bread first then adding the jam and THEN the clotted cream. I prefer the Devonshire Scone using the Cornish Jam method as the jam is denser and less spreadable than the cream making it easier to spread underneath the cream.
Clotted cream is commonly associated with Southwest England, in particular Cornwall and Devon where it is made and readily available. It has become so popular that it is now considered a tourist attraction to the West Country counties. Clotted cream is originally thought to have been created by farmers to reduce milk waste. It is made by heating raw cow’s milk and then allowing it to cool in shallow pans. As the milk cools the cream content of the milk rises to the top and clots.
Ps. National Cream Tea Day – a must of course – will be next held on Friday 24th June 2016.