The cream tea is such a British institution and is loved everywhere in the UK but no more than in the South West, particularly in the two counties of Devon and Cornwall. Arguments abound between them both as to which is the real home of the “Cream Tea”. It would be a brave person to suggest who is correct (unless you live in either county) as both are very similar in nature (scones, jam and cream) and both, of course, are delicious.
What is a Cornish or Devon Cream Tea?
A cream tea from the south-west (the area in the UK of the two counties of Devon and Cornwall) consists of little more than freshly baked scones, fruity jam, clotted cream and a lovely pot of freshly made tea.
Be careful though, a Cream Tea should not be confused with the very old English custom of Afternoon Tea, which is more of a meal in itself involving so much more than just scones and eaten specifically after lunch and before dinner. On the other hand, I cannot think of time in the day a cream tea it is not welcome, though breakfast may be pushing it just a little.
What is the Difference Between a Cornish and Devon Cream Tea?
Take a close look at the image on this page and you can see the difference, it is subtle, so you may want to look closely. Hint - the cream.
The content of the sliced scone remains the same, simply jam and cream. However, it is the order these are assembled that makes the difference; in a Devon tea it is cream on the scone then jam; in Cornwall, jam first followed by the cream.
Does this make a difference to taste? Not really, it is all a matter of preference and what you are used to. It is as simple as that. Sorry if the answer you were expecting was more complicated, but seriously, it is that simple.
What is Clotted Cream?
Another difference, peculiar to the south-west is the use of clotted cream rather than whipped double cream you will find served elsewhere in the UK except perhaps Yorkshire, where they also produce clotted.
Clotted cream originates in the south-west and is a silky, yellow cream with a distinctive crust on the surface. It is made by heating unpasteurized cow's milk which then is left in a shallow pan for many hours which causes the cream to rise to the surface and 'clot'.
Making a Cream Tea at Home
You can easily create a cream tea at home, the only difficulty would be the Devon or Cornwall sunshine needed to make it authentic. You will need, of course, scones and the rest as outlined below.
Step 1: Follow these instructions, hints and tips to make the lightest scones.
Step 2: Get jam, butter and cream (preferably clotted).
Step 2: Set the table with a pretty tablecloth, best china and a few flowers.