cornish split

Cream tea

A Cream tea, Devonshire tea or Cornish cream tea is tea taken with a combination of scones, clotted cream, and jam.

Cream teas are offered for sale in tea rooms throughout England (especially the South West) and rest of the Commonwealth, or wherever someone wants to give an impression of English influence.

In the United States it is promoted as a typically English afternoon snack.


The name "Devonshire tea comes from the county of Devon in England, where it is a local speciality. The exact origin of "cream tea" is disputed, although there is evidence to suggest that the tradition of eating bread with cream and jam already existed at Tavistock Abbey in Devon in the 11th century.


There are regional variations within England as to how a cream tea should preferably be eaten. The Devonshire (or Devon) method is to split the scone in two, cover each half with clotted cream, and then add strawberry jam on top. Traditionally it is important that the scones be warm (ideally, freshly baked), the cream be clotted (not whipped), and the jam be strawberry (although raspberry jam is rarely used as an alternative). Butter should never be included, and the tea should be served with milk.

In Cornwall, the cream tea was traditionally served with a "Cornish split", a type of sweet white bread roll, rather than a scone.. The warm roll (or scone) should first be buttered, then spread with strawberry jam, and finally topped with a spoonful of Cornish clotted cream.

Another variation to a cream tea is called "Thunder and Lightning" which consists of a round of bread, topped with clotted cream and golden syrup, honey or treacle.. This variation is not commonly found in parts of England outside Cornwall.


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