Cream Teas in North Devon
The precise origin of the cream tea is disputed, but historians have said that they have found evidence that the tradition began right here in Devon during the 11th Century, which is why sampling one in North Devon is an absolute must.
Make sure to eat it the right way
One sure way to upset someone in Devon is by eating your Cream Tea the Cornish way, so make sure you know how to assemble your scones, jam and cream before you order! There are variations between Devon and Cornwall as to how a cream tea should be eaten – and no doubt variations within the variations. However, the most popular Devon method is to split the scone in two, cover each half with Devon clotted cream, and then add strawberry jam on top. Butter should never be included.
In Cornwall, the cream tea was traditionally served with a "Cornish split", a type of slightly sweet white bread roll, rather than a scone. The warm roll would first be spread with strawberry jam, and finally topped with a spoonful of Cornish clotted cream. Which is basically the wrong way to do it. Cream always comes first!
Where to find a Devon Cream Tea
Historically Devon has many variations on the Cream Tea and all of them are equally delicious, luckily, they are easy to come by all over the county, with some establishments putting their own spin on the traditional snack. For a real traditional experience, hunt out one of the area’s quaint, old fashioned tea rooms. These can be found in towns and villages across North Devon and many of them serve your tea with china and silver cutlery, so you can enjoy it the way the nobles would have done.
If you choose to stay at a B&B or embark on a farm stay, you’ll find that on arrival you’ll be greeted with a rustic, farm house style Cream Tea made with local cream, probably from the cows in the fields surrounding you, home made scones and of course, home made jam. It isn’t just B&Bs that offer this service, a number of the region’s hotels will offer a real Devon Cream Tea on arrival or at the very least will include it on their menus, both as the treat we all know and love or as part of an afternoon tea, so you get tiny sandwiches and cakes along side!
While we encourage you to try at least one traditional style Cream Tea while you’re in Devon, we also think you should take a look at some of the variations that are available at cafes and hotels. Some versions of the Cream Tea include a savoury option with cheese scones with cream, cheeses and chutney or an alcoholic version with Irish Cream, Whiskey Cream or Brandy Cream!