National Cream Tea Day makes its Season debut tomorrow - Friday 26th June - mark that in your diary now. So with that in mind I felt it the duty of Dartmoor Accommodation to go and try a Devon Cream Tea for you. I know it's a tough job but someone has to do it :)
Now obviously if you are going to have an authentic Devon Cream Tea the best place to have it is where it all started - The Bedford Hotel in Tavistock.
The people we have to thank for creating Devon's favourite dish, The Devon Cream Tea, are in fact the monks of Tavistock's Benedictine Abbey. The Abbey was established in the 10th century but was plundered and badly damaged by a band of marauding Vikings in 997AD.
It took a lot of hard work to restore the Abbey and the task was undertaken by Ordulf, Earl of Devon, whose father Ordgar had been responsible for establishing the Abbey in the first place.
Ordulf was helped by local workers; to reward them they were fed with bread, clotted cream and strawberry preserves ... and so the Devon cream was born. They proved so popular that the monks continued to serve them to passing travellers (a tradition upheld by The Bedford Hotel today, which remains one of the the finest places to indulge in a Devon Cream Tea).
History lesson over and now on to the main event - the Devon Cream Tea itself.....
Now if this isn't enough to whet your appetite, I am not sure what will.
It seemed the Bedford Hotel in Tavistock is the place to be - upon my arrival the lounge and bar was full of groups of all ages all enjoying the cream teas. There was a definite waft of freshly baked scones in the air.
When my Devon Cream Tea was served, the scone was still warm and the smell absolutely delightful. As you can see from the picture the scone was huge and there was lashings of Hogs Bottom jam and Devon clotted cream to go round.
I do feel I am fairly well qualified in judging the quality of a Devon Cream Tea as I have sampled a few over the years - as you will see from my waistline ...
Now obviously it has to be eaten the 'Devon Way' cream first. However I am still trying to discover the most ladylike way to eat a Cream tea - answers on a postcard appreciated! The Cream Tea Society has their own Cream Tea Etiquette - although I am not sure I agree with all their points
OMG, the scone was as light as a feather, the jam plentiful and very fruity and the cream, well obviously that was just the icing on the cake. And all of this for £5.95
I gave it my best shot, but the portion sizes beat me. I should've taken a doggy bag to bring some home for Julian who unfortunately couldn't join me, oh well Julian, next time - I was thinking of your waistline
Mike Palmer, the head chef of The Bedford Hotel explained to me that "Scones are relatively simple to make - but it does take a bit of care to get perfection! Follow a simple scone recipe, make sure your scone mix is velvety smooth, and don't forget to pre-heat your oven. 150 degrees is ideal. Oh, don't forget, it's Devon clotted cream on top first, then local jam!" Well Mike you have definitely got them down to a fine tee whereas I need to keep practising!!