Afternoon Tea: What comes first – the cream or the jam?
Afternoon tea is a very serious business in my home country of England. Often referred to as a ‘Cream Tea’, it’s a much-loved tradition amongst both young and old to sit down to a pot of hot tea and a scone served with jam and clotted cream. With the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle now just a few days away, homes and gardens across the UK are getting ready for the tea party of the year! I myself will be hosting a little celebration with friends here in Connecticut, and I’m so looking forward to styling my deck up with décor from my High Tea Party Box and serving everyone this traditional afternoon treat.
This got me thinking about the great scone debate that has reigned in England for literally centuries – what should be spread first, the cream or the jam? My first job as a teenager was in a little tearoom in my home village, and I can still remember being fascinated at how deeply our customers felt about the order in which these should be spread! This seems to be felt the most in the two southern counties of Devon and Cornwall. Those in Devon believe that the clotted cream comes first, followed by jam on top, whereas the tradition in Cornwall is to spread the jam first, and top it off with a nice dollop of cream. Having spent years being unsure myself which order I preferred, I decided in the end that there was only one person who could settle this for me – Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Whatever she thought was the correct order, that’s what I was going to go with. And luckily, with the Royal Family’s increased presence on social media this year, I got my answer! A former chef to the Royal Family recently revealed on Twitter that the Queen prefers jam first with clotted cream on top. And if that’s how tea is going to be served in London on May 19th , then I’ll be following suit at my own garden party that day too! However you plan to spread the jam, cream and love that day, I hope you have a wonderful time with your nearest and dearest. Bottoms up!
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