Cream Tea - one of life’s simple pleasures!
By Jane Venables
I absolutely adore Afternoon Tea, there’s something so wonderfully decadent about sipping fine tea and champagne whilst nibbling on delicate sandwiches, perfectly cooked scones and the sweetest of treats. If your time is limited however, or you fancy something a little lighter to settle those small pangs of hunger, the Cream Tea is the perfect option. Consisting primarily of scones, cream, jam and tea (although some also include cake!) it is the perfect light bite to eat.
We have the Duchess of Bedford to thank for gifting us with the concept of Afternoon Tea but where exactly did the Cream Tea come from? Well, the 1850’s saw the opening of the railways in the United Kingdom, opening up a whole new world of travel to everyone. Devon and Cornwall became hot tourist destinations, thanks to their beautiful beaches and scenery, and local businesses decided to take full advantage of the boom. Tearooms and cafes popped up all over the place and the Cream Tea was officially born!
There has always been a certain amount of “friction” between the two counties as far as the Cream Tea is concerned, each taking their own stance on how it should be served. Of course, everyone agrees the jam should always be strawberry and the cream always clotted, but the disagreement lies in whether it’s the jam or the cream that is spooned onto the scone first. In Devon the cream comes first and in Cornwall it is the jam. Each to their own is what I say, and it’s not something I really stop to think about when confronted with a Cream Tea. I just can’t wait to tuck in!
Cream Teas cost a lot less than a full blown afternoon tea, which is fantastic news for those on a budget, and there are some pretty great ones out there to try. If you live in or near to Manchester then we can’t recommend Annie’s Tea Shop highly enough. Owned by the lovely Corrie actress Jennie McAlpine, this award winning venue serves a superb Cream Tea for just £5.95. Further north in Edinburgh, Hopetoun House is a beautiful Scottish stately home serving a brilliant Cream Tea from its Stables Tea Room. For just £7.50, tuck into fruit or plain scones, cream, strawberry jam and a mini sweet treat all served with a pot of fine loose leaf tea. Add a glass of Prosecco for an extra £5. In London, the Strand Palace Hotel serves a decadent Cream Tea including a choice of cakes such as mini Victoria sponges and chocolate truffle cups. At £12.95 it is slightly more expensive than most Cream Teas but then it is larger than most. 5th View Bar & Food above Waterstone’s in Piccadilly offers a more economical option at just £5.80 per person for freshly baked scones and Damman tea.
For further great Cream Tea options, check out our Cream Teas section here. Oh, and if there is a particular Cream Tea you feel we should know about, please do share with us in the comments.