The forever debated should it be cream first or jam first on a cream tea?
What is the difference between a Cornish and a Devon cream tea? The only actual difference between the two counties take on a cream tea is the order in which the jam and cream are placed on to the scone!
In Cornwall, the jam is smoothed on first, before being topped with a heaped spoonful of cream and in Devon the scones are topped with cream on the bottom followed by the jam.
The cream tea is a British institution that is loved everywhere in the UK, but perhaps no two counties love it more than Devon (or Devonshire) and Cornwall.
Arguments abound as to which location is the real home of the cream tea, with minor differences in each tea service. Regardless of which side you’re on, they’re both a delicious way to spend an afternoon which I’m sure you will agree!
What is a cream tea?
A cream tea is a light meal consisting of scones, fruit jam, clotted cream, and a freshly-brewed pot of tea. Traditionally, the scone is served warm and, when possible, freshly-baked, and the cream is clotted rather than whipped. Strawberry jam is by far the most popular jam which is used. It is most commonly served in southwest England, where Devon and Cornwall are located, but can also be found throughout the country. It is often enjoyed in the afternoon but can be served anytime in between meals.
A cream tea should never be confused with the very old English custom of Afternoon Tea, which is more of a meal. Afternoon tea typically involves more than simply scones, with little finger sandwiches and other delicious savoury and sweet bites and desserts, and is eaten specifically after lunch and before dinner. Cream tea is a more relaxed and lighter tea break.
I am both. I have ancestors from both Cornwall and Devon, heaps of both, and when I rest my eyes for a long, savouring glance at your dually-graced plate, I feel no need to choose. Two piled-high scones, each with their own regalia will be perfect for me and my genes. Thank you, Claire -
(“Californian Caledonian” woman moving from Maui, Hawaii to Scotland, May 2023, with my cherished Assistance Dog, Tarkina!)
I’m from the UK but not Devon or Cornwall. I enjoy a cream tea from time to time as does my younger son. My older son doesn’t like cream!
We both prefer Cornish style as we like to spread the jam so it covers the scone. Often you get a teeny little pot pf jam that would be impossible to spread is it were on top of the cream! So it’s a purely practical thing as I’m sure both versions taste just as good!
@Samox24 happy childhood memories as it was our Sunday treat from our grandparents to go for a cream tea - they favoured the Jam on first and heaps of cream piled high on top, so I have always stuck to that way
Where are you now? Look for an English tea shop.
Here in Uruguay, nearly all of the people, the locals hail from Europe and the UK. The architecture is all European and there are many towns that are the original settlements that have a lot of traditional food, customs and of course street names. I am thrilled when I find European products.
We have British hospitals and Tienda Inglesa (English shop), Swiss, Spanish, Italian…. Pricey but I love it.