Controversial… outrage in the tea rooms!

I’ve written several times about the cream tea debate; it’s something which has divided friends and families, colleagues and work mates across the nation, almost as much (if not more) than the other incendiary topic – MIF vs TIF – in the world of tea is it milk in first, or tea in first? (I won’t deviate here into that, nor into the whole perilous area of coffee)

In case you have missed it, the cream tea debate is on how you eat your cream tea – and again, I won’t deviate into other areas such as which type of jam – and are chocolate/hazelnut spreads counted as jam, nor fruit in scones or not, and nor whether there is a savoury equivalent to cream tea with cheese scones.

  • The Cornish way to eat a cream tea – split your scones, spread each half with jam, pile on the cream, enjoy with a cup of tea.
  • The Devon way to eat a cream tea – split your scones, spread each half with cream, add jam, enjoy with a cup of tea.

There are supposedly other west country cream teas, Somerset and Dorset but to be honest I don’t know anything about them, even though I live in Somerset.

There was outrage in Cornwall, when Cornwall Alive reported a Cornish restaurant at a National Trust property advertising it’s Mother’s Day special cream tea had a photo of a scone served the Devonshire way!! The restaurant admitted its gaff straight away and quickly apologised and produced another advert with the cream and jam in their correct relative positions… except, what they failed to notice was in the background to the main Cornish scone, was a Devon one – cream on first then jam!!! Outrageous!

This was shared on Facebook and a friend of mine didn’t quite ‘get’ what the fuss was all about. There followed this exchange from me and a couple of friends:

The ‘disgusting’ Mother’s Day advert that’s sparked outrage in Cornwall

J: ??
Lois: It was a joke article, J, because people are always arguing about whether cream teas should be served the Cornish way with jam on first then cream, or cream on first then jam on the cream! When I was a teacher it was one of the few things my students would have a debate about! The other way, cream then jam is the Devon way and you know what rivalry there is between the two counties! PS I don’t know what the Somerset way is!
R: I think the Somersetshire way is cream, jam, cream.
Lois:  I think you may well have it, Richard – unless it’s jam cream, jam cream! Is Dorset cream jam cream jam?
N: such a good topic at the moment…I’m writing my story about scones and it has helped a lot to be more exact with the different ways of eating them! Also my Swiss friend (I made her try scones and she loves it ever since) eats it with cream comes first and jam to the top of it. She says she thinks of the cream as the butter to spread underneath the jam! So many different approaches !
Lois Elsden: B says the same as your friend. I think cream is a lovely extra like ice-cream, so I want lots and lots of it piled on top! If you use it like butter it’s hardly there at all… why not have butter and cream!!
N: Haha! getting complicated and very naughty
L:  Very naughty!
N: the most important that everybody should be happy with the amount of the cream. I’d now probably go with the cream jam cream!!!
L: That actually does sound the best of both… especially if the scones are a little dry!


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