Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Jam or cream first?

Cream tea at National Trust properties
(C) National Trust Images / Arnhel de Serra
This Friday, the 26th June, is the first National Cream Tea Day! This event is all about celebrating the nation’s love of (and maybe sometimes even obsession with) cream teas, with the help from ambassador Frances Quinn, winner of The Great British Bake off. The National Trust properties in York are the perfect places to treat yourself to a proper cream tea this summer, but first, ahead of the occasion, I’m going to share some scone-related facts…

Generally, a cream tea is eaten between 4pm and 6pm, and is a combination of scones, clotted cream, and jam, served with a pot of tea. Traditionally associated with Devon and Cornwall, the idea of the cream tea quickly spread across the whole of Britain and the Commonwealth in the mid-19th century, and is still available today in tea rooms across the country. There is also an ongoing debate in cream tea etiquette that asks whether you should spread the jam on the scone first or the cream.

Here are some ideas of how to celebrate with a cream tea at Treasurer’s House, Goddards and Beningbrough Hall.

For an extravagant cream tea

A proper cream tea at Goddards
(C) National Trust Images / Chris Lacey
The catering team at Goddards have put on a full spread especially for this celebration. ‘Mrs Terry’s Treats’ comes complete with two finger sandwiches, a scone, jam, cream and a pot of tea for one. Like Treasurer’s, Goddards also has seasonal scones on selected days, which have included a chocolate orange scone, celebrating the chocolate-making Terry family. (Think Terry’s Chocolate Orange.) You can sit in the dining room or the drawing room, and feel at home in his house, or make the most of the summer sun and eat on the lavender terrace. If you take afternoon tea in the drawing room between 2 and 3pm as part of your visit to the house, it will be prepared as you explore and you'll be called when it’s ready - with the sound of a gong!

For a traditional cream tea (or for gluten free)

Afternoon tea at Beningbrough
Beningbrough Hall’s simple yet timeless cream tea consists of two homemade scones, strawberry or raspberry jam, some clotted cream and a pot of Yorkshire tea for one. People following a gluten-free diet do not have to miss out on National Cream Tea Day here - Beningbrough also offers a gluten-free scone.

For a different cream tea

Cheese scones are available at Treasurer's House
(C) National Trust Images / Arnhel de Serra
In the Below the Stairs CafĂ© at Treasurer’s House, the flavour of the scones changes depending on what’s in season. Some of the variations so far have been: cheddar, ginger and honey, cherry and vanilla, and even lavender. So, Treasurers is the place to go if you want to be surprised, and try a cream tea with a difference. (Please note that these scones are only sold separately- a full cream tea with a plain scone is also available). Treasurer's House is closed on Friday 26 but open Saturday - Thursday.

People enjoying afternoon tea at Beningbrough
(C) National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

We’d love to hear about your cream tea experiences at Treasurer’s, Goddards or Beningbrough, so tweet any feedback or pictures to us using #bestcreamtea, and the Cream Tea Society might put us on their ‘must visit’ list!

Visit the website to find out more information about cream teas on offer round Yorkshire with the National Trust. 

All that remains is to decide - jam or cream first?

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