A proper cream tea is one of summer’s indispensable indulgences, and Maws are pleased to provide every mouth-watering component; from crumbly scones, sticky fruit jam, and lashings of clotted cream to a perfectly brewed pot of tea.
It’s hard to believe weren’t always a nation of tea-drinkers, but until Catherine of Braganza arrived from Portugal with a casket of tea to marry Charles II in 1662, and established a ‘tea court’ for her noble ladies, the ‘Chinese drink’ as Samuel Pepys described it two years earlier, had been virtually ignored in Britain since the first green variety had arrived from Japan via The Dutch East India Co. in 1610.
Today we consume 60.2 billion cups annually (making us the third largest tea-drinking nation, just behind Turkey and The Irish Republic). Moreover, since being adopted by Lady Bedford in 1830 the English tradition of ‘Afternoon Tea’, to fill the peckish gap between lunch and supper, has become a cultural institution recognised around the world. And when it comes to proper, greedily indulgent afternoon tea, many of us would argue against the finger sandwiches and candy-coloured macaroons, preferring to cut straight to the main event of fruit scones, jam and cream.
Cream of the Crop
Of all the afternoon tea options available a full-on cream tea has to be the most satisfyingly decadent – a perennial favourite amongst customers and clientele, whether frequenting the famous tea-salon of London’s Fortnum & Mason or the cosy village teashop.
The cream tea tradition began flourishing in the West Country during the region’s first proper tourist boom, led by the opening of passenger railways during the 1850s, although evidence of the cream tea’s origins may go back much further, as historians have discovered an account of monks from an abbey in Tavistock enjoying bread spread with jam and cream way back in 997 AD.
However placing the possible beginnings of the cream tea in Devon may further enflame one of England’s longest standing county feuds; the ongoing argument between Cornwall and Devon on how to correctly eat a cream tea. Just to clarify, the Cornish will have you believe that a scone should be covered with cream before a dollop of jam is placed on top, while the folk of Devon will assure you that a scone should be spread with jam and topped with cream.
Safe to say that each solution is equally delicious, and we believe that having halved your scone it’s simply time to follow your heart. Yet there are other more important rules to the cream-tea with which we whole-heartedly agree, and to ensure you offer the very best we’ve taken the liberty of outlining them below:
Maws Guide To The Perfect Traditional Cream Tea
• Cream should always be clotted – whipped cream is never acceptable.
• Jam should always be of the strawberry variety.
• For an authentic Devonshire cream tea a fruit scone is always used.
• For an authentic Cornish cream tea a Cornish split (a slightly sweetened soft white roll) is used instead of a scone.
• Butter is not considered necessary.
• When making tea, allow loose leaf tea to brew in a teapot for at least three minutes.
• Tea should be poured into the cup first, followed by milk, then sugar if required.
We’re delighted to provide all the quality components for creating truly memorable cream teas this summer, including:
• Millers plain and fruit scones, each by pack of 64
• Tiptree Strawberry Jam by 3kg tub, or per pack of 72 individual 28g jars
• Clotted cream per 1kg tub, or per of 24 individual 28g servings
• Twinnings Earl Grey and English Breakfast Tea per 50 envelope pack