World over, the English are famed for their undying love affair with tea. In the southern counties, most notably Devon and Cornwall, this has been extended from a mere beverage into a treat – the cream tea - that probably contains more calories than the average lunch. Still, when in Rome…
Obviously, no cream tea is complete without tea. My preference is for a nice cup of Earl Grey but, really, I’m not fussy so long as it’s served from a proper china teapot into a proper china teacup. I swear it really does affect the flavour. Loose tealeaves are best, although not essential.
Now for the ‘cream’ element. This consists of a fresh baked, warm scone, which is split in two and then topped with clotted cream and jam and eaten as an accompaniment to the tea. Personally, I think plain scones are best as they allow you to really enjoy the flavour of the cream and jam. If you’ve never tried it, clotted cream is absolutely delicious: thick, sumptuous and very slightly sweet with mellow and buttery tones. It’s absolutely packed full of calories but the less said about that, the better. The Cornish way of doing things, and the one I prefer, is to spread each half of the scone thickly with jam and then to put a generous dollop of the clotted cream on top, but it’s all a matter of personal preference, really. The jam should be strawberry or raspberry and seedless. Butter has no place in a cream tea (and you can always kid yourself that you’re being terribly healthy by omitting it).
For those with a sweet tooth and a devil-may-care attitude to cholesterol, this is one of the best afternoon treats and a must for any stay in Cornwall.