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The Great Cream Tea Debate

How, where and when did the cream tea originate?
The Great Cream Tea Debate
With the arrival of Summer it won’t be long be long before we’ll be enjoying village fetes decorated with colourful bunting and cream teas served on vintage china.  But how, where and when did the cream tea originate?  And, what is the cream tea debate of Devon v Cornwall all about? Where did cream tea originate? Would you believe cream teas originated in the South West at Tavistock Abbey in Devon way back in the 11th Century?  Amazing to think we have been enjoying this treat for close on one thousand years!  The original version consisted of bread with cream and jam on top and in Cornwall a slightly sweet bread roll was used instead of bread.  The tradition now is for scones. So, what is the argument?  Well, it’s all about the cream.  It would appear there is a difference of opinion as to WHEN you add the clotted cream to your scone.  Before the strawberry jam or after?  Here are the opposing viewpoints from rivals in the cream tea debate, South West neighbours -  Devon and Cornwall. What is a ‘Devonshire’ cream tea? ·         The clotted cream takes the place of butter and you wouldn’t put butter on top of jam. ·         You get more cream on the scone if you put it on first and it won’t end up on your nose! ·         Jam was an expensive treat so only a small amount was added on top. What is a ‘Cornish Cream Tea’? ·         In Cornwall, they maintain it is easier to spread the clotted cream on top of the jam. ·         It tastes better with the cream on top of the jam. ·         You put cream on top of a pudding not on the bottom! Where does clotted cream come from? Now a cream tea would not be a proper cream tea without homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream, but have you ever wondered where clotted cream comes from?  What process does it go through to turn it from ordinary cream into such a lovely thick and rich cream?  Clotted cream is traditionally associated with dairy farms in South West England and in particular Cornwall and Devon.   Making clotted cream sounds relatively straight forward.  Cow’s milk is heated using either steam or a water bath, the key thing here is not to use direct heat.  It is then left in shallow pans to cool slowly.  The cream content of the scalded milk then rises to the surface and forms ‘clouts’ or ‘clots’.  The clots are then skimmed off the top with a long-handled cream-skimmer, hence the name clotted cream. So there it is.  Whichever your preference – whether it be a Cornish or a Devonshire cream tea, at Decocube we think all cream teas are delicious, especially when served at a table with a beautiful fresh cotton tablecloth, on a stylish willow cake plate and with a mug of tea!