If you have ever been curious about how the British drink their tea, then you can learn more about as well as celebrate it through National Cream Tea Day! Cream tea day is a British holiday that celebrates the etiquette and history of drinking tea with scones filled with clotted cream and jam. If that sounds delicious, then you can read more about the history of cream tea and scones here. Let’s read up on what the craze is about cream tea.
Learn about National Cream Tea Day
National Cream Tea Day is the perfect opportunity from people all over the world to celebrate delicious cream tea. Fans can share legendary stories, traditions, and their own takes on cream tea. When it comes to British cream tea, the meal is steeped with delicious scones, biscuits, cakes, and sandwiches, as well as creams and jams. These were small, afternoon snacks that people used to eat in the evening in order to tide themselves over until their evening meal.
Today, afternoon teas are exceptionally popular amongst those looking to enjoy a special treat with their loved ones. Many restaurants and cafes in the UK especially have special afternoon tea menus. There are themed afternoon teas as well, based on the likes of Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The treats that you will be served at one of these afternoon teas are truly magical, with everything from marshmallow mushrooms to fruity potion drinks.
When it comes to cream tea, the star of the show, as the name suggests, is the cream. It is not whipped cream that is served, but clotted cream. Clotted cream is thick and creamy. It is also sometimes called Devonshire cream due to the cows coming from Devon.
No matter what you call it, it is created from heating raw, full cream cow’s milk using a steam bath. Unfortunately, if you live in the United States, you’re not going to be able to experience the experience of real clotted cream unless you take a trip to the UK. This is because of the homogenization and pasteurization requirements that will alter the structure of fat within the milk.
Interestingly, there is a debate regarding whether you should apply the cream or the jam to the scone first. This debate stems from two different areas within the UK. In terms of Devonshire cream, the tradition is to add the cream to the scone first, and then the jam. However, the Cornish way is to spread the jam first and then top it with cream after. Why not give both a go and let us know which method you prefer?
History of National Cream Tea Day
Cream tea is a form of afternoon light tea that is served with sides of scones, clotted cream, and jam. The tea is believed to have originated in the 11th century when the tradition of eating bread with cream and jam at Tavistock Abbey in Devon arose. There are two methods to eat scones and drink cream tea. One of the more notable Devonian method, where a person splits the scone in two, covers each half with clotted cream, and then adds strawberry jam on top.
The Cornish method, which is more notable in London, is when a person takes a warm ‘bread split’ or a ‘scone’ and splits in two, then spreads with strawberry jam, and finally tops the scones with a spoonful of clotted cream. In this case, it’s a matter of order generalized to the area you are located in.
Hence, for all tea lovers out there, National Cream Tea Day was created by the Cream Tea Society, an organization that partners with Tiptree and Rodda’s to host tea events throughout the United Kingdom.
Each year, the Cream Tea Society would host tea parties and events, teaching people proper English etiquette and how to properly eat scones and drink tea. Each of these events all go towards charity fundraisers to organizations such as children’s cancer research.
How to Celebrate National Cream Tea Day
If you want to start celebrating this British holiday, then start by learning how to make British scones and clotted cream. Here’s a Cornish recipe you can follow from the Tori Avey website: Use new milk and strain at once, as soon as milked, into shallow pans. Allow it to stand for 24 hours in winter and 12 hours in summer. Then put the pan on the stove, or better still into a steamer containing water, and let it slowly heat until the cream begins to show a raised ring round the edge.
When sufficiently cooked, place in a cool dairy and leave for 12 or 24 hours. Great care must be taken in moving the pans so that the cream is not broken, both in putting on the fire and taking off. When required skim off the cream in layers into a glass dish for the table, taking care to have a good “crust” on the top.
Another way to celebrate this British-themed date is to have an afternoon tea experience with your friends and loved ones. It is up to you whether you want to host the occasion or you want to go to an eatery that is going to do all of the hard work for you. If you decide that you are going to prepare the afternoon tea yourself, make sure you have a good selection of teas to drink. You are also going to need finger sandwiches, scones, jams, cakes, and biscuits.
You can be as traditional or as experimental as you want with the selection that you serve. Take a look online if you need a bit of inspiration. You will see plenty of exciting and fun recipes, as well as some inspirations on how to display the afternoon tea in an attractive way as well.