The true origins of the cream tea

The origins of the traditional cream tea is something that has been fought over for a very long time. Many debates have been had and many arguments fought about the true origins of the cream tea. There is one thing that everyone can agree on though and that is that enjoying a freshly brewed cup of tea with a scone with cream and jam is a wonderful treat.

The cream that is used on the scones is clotted cream and the origins of this itself are uncertain. The most widely held belief is that the cream originates from the south west of England in the country of Cornwall or Devon. These regions have somewhat warmer climate and the pastures down there are green and have been proven as very suitable for producing good dairy products.

Clotted cream is created by putting milk over hot water for hours and then taking of the cream the comes to the top of the mixture. Once this has cooled the producer is essentially left with cream. The process also has the added advantage that it pasteurises the cream so that it can be stored for a longer period. There are several different varieties of clotted cream and different regions in the south west are known for creating different varieties and the by product of making cream is skimmed milk which is widely sold.

In Devon clotted cream can be traced all the way back to the 1100’s. It was used as a food to be given to the people who were helping monks rebuilt Tavistock Abbey. Devon has made applications to ensure that the way they make the clotted cream can only be made in Devon but so far the county has not been successful.

Whichever of the counties where the original producer does not really matter in today’s world. The cream tea that is available in the south west is very popular with tourists as it is something that cannot be found in the rest of the world. The fact that it has such a short shelf life means that if it were to be shipped, it would spoil before reaching the destination.

The south west not only debate about the origins of the cream but they even argue over the scone, specifically, whether it should have fruits in it or not. This might be a trivial issue for some, but in the south west, it is an important issue. Most people enjoy a few dried fruits in their scone but some people strongly argue that if you use the correct amount of jam there is no need for this addition and it just detracts from the dish.

There is even an argument between the counties of Devon and Cornwall about the very construction of the scone with the jam and cream. In Devon they insist that the correct way to assemble the dish is to put the cream on first, and then the jam. In Cornwall they do it the other way around.