We all know that Dorset produces some of the best cream and jam in the south-west, so with this in mind, there is no reason not to stock up and get involved with this year’s National Cream Tea Day.
Taking place on the last Friday in June each year, National Cream Tea Day raises thousands of pounds for charity each year. Though we won’t be able to enjoy it in the same way as we have in previous years, there is nothing stopping us from enjoying a cream tea from the comfort of our own homes, especially with the online resources that the Cream Tea Society have provided!
The cream tea pack which can be downloaded from here gives you everything you need to enjoy a cream tea with the family in your kitchen or over Facetime with your besties! So now all you need are your ingredients! You can pick up your scones from one of our amazing bakers here or have a go at making your own using our three-ingredient scone recipe. You can find jam here and pick up fresh Dorset cream from a host of farmers and local suppliers. If you want Dorset based tea for your cream tea, you can pick that up here.
Now you’ve got the ingredients sorted, let’s find out a bit more about this tasty treat. It is thought that Britain began its tradition of drinking tea in any situation back in 1662 when Catherine de Braganza married the then King, Charles II. She was from Portugal, where tea was already a hugely popular drink and so she made drinking tea at court a past time, which in turn, made the whole country want to do it.
The first real chance that the everyday person got to enjoy a cup of tea whenever they liked began a little later in the 1700s when a Mr Thomas Twining opened the first tea room in London. This sparked a trend and soon hundreds of them had popped up all over the capital, though of course, there wasn’t cream and jam involved, the concept of a cream tea came much later.
A precursor to the cream tea was the Afternoon Tea, which became popular among the upper and middle classes after being invented by the Duchess of Bedford. She complained about the wait between lunch and dinner being too long – we’ve all been there. So, she started ordering tea and treats to her room whenever she got peckish, which inevitably became social affairs as her friends and other dignitaries joined her. By the 19th century, the wealthy were enjoying an afternoon tea almost every day complete with sandwiches, cakes, scones, cream and jam. There we have it, the beginning of the cream tea as we know it.
Now, cream teas really took off as a concept during the Victorian era when the south-west, places like Dorset, Devon and Cornwall started to become hotspots as tourist destinations. Hotels, tea rooms and cafes started serving an afternoon tea made with the very best ingredients that can only be found in this part of the world, creating the now world-famous cream tea.
So, there you have it, the history of one of the most delicious treats known to the south-west. There is some debate over whether you should put jam or cream first, it is the main difference between a Cornish or a Devon cream tea, but as this is Dorset, do whatever you like!