A freshly baked scone, a layer of strawberry jam and lashings of Cornish clotted cream is surely the recipe for happiness. And as today (June 30) is National Cream Tea Day, you are permitted – nay, obliged – to partake of this sweet treat.
National Cream Tea Day was the brainchild of two companies: Rodda's Cornish Clotted Cream in Scorrier, and Tiptree Strawberry Conserve. Between them, they have helped to raise over £1,200,000 over the last eight years by donating 50,000 individual portions of cream and jam to fundraising events for a host of UK charities, from cancer care to air ambulances.
Rodda’s MD Nicholas Rodda described National Cream Tea Day as “one of the finest celebrations of the British calendar year”, adding: “A cream tea is a memorable treat, passed down through the generations, and enjoyed among friends and loved ones of all ages.”
It’s also a source of many arguments. Scown or sconn? Plain or fruited?
And, of course, the big one: jam first, or cream? Any self-respecting muncher west of the Tamar will tell you it’s jam – and what’s more, we are backed up by academic research (admittedly commissioned by Rodda’s).
In 2013, Dr Eugenia Cheng of Sheffield University confirmed that spreading the jam first would avoid the unmitigated disaster of having it slide off the scone.
Dr Cheng also claimed to have devised a statistical formula for the perfect combination of jam/cream/scone, with a ratio of 2:1:1, meaning an average 70g scone requires 35g apiece of jam and cream.
A 5mm rim should be left between the jam and the edge of the scone, and between the jam and cream; and the ideal thickness of scone plus load should be precisely 2.8cm to allow a relaxed open width of the mouth when taking a bite.
It’s a lot to remember. I’m taking regular pauses to eat my own cream tea (pictured) while writing this. Full disclosure: I did not measure the height of my scone (pronounced “scown” – and no, I’m not posh), or leave a 5mm rim. Maybe I was in too much of a rush to eat this luscious, sticky mess.
However, I did obey the law of putting the jam on first, for fear of the cream tea police pouncing and shoving me into a cannon, to be fired as far from Cornwall as possible.
Ultimately, it’s all a bit of fun, and delicious fun at that.
So today of all days, share a cream tea with friends, family or fundraisers. And remember, there is always a reason to enjoy a Cornish cream tea - but do you need an excuse?