Tag Archives: clotted cream

The Scone Chronicles – 39 A Box from Bettys

I’m torn between wonder that I have got to Number 39, and a sense of lost that Covid has presented me getting to Number 70, which is where it ought to be.  I could try harder, and I didn’t even photograph the scones – just the gift box. It’s even taken me a month to get round to writing it up.

The Scones in question arrived in a small cardboard box from Bettys in Harrogate. My sister had ordered them on line as a treat for us. no particular reason, just because she’s a nice person. I will refer to it as a hamper, despite it being disguised as a cardboard box.

Bettys Hamper

Bettys Hamper – tea, scones, cake and jam

The blue box contains tea, the brown protects the jar of strawberry jam and the other two explain themselves.

The scones had been in transit for a day and it took us another day to get clotted cream(if you’re going to have afternoon tea you may as well have all the calories and fat that go with it. Despite this, and my sister’s worries, they were still fresh.

They were also very good.

Unfortunately, Bettys advertise themselves in a way that suggests they are the best in the world, and they aren’t. Generally I’d be happy with scones that were this good, but Bettys make a rod for their own back – they really need to up their game if they want to match the adverts.. See here for more comments on this, and for a comment on the dropping of the apostrophe in the name – this criticism still stands. If you can’t be bothered to put an apostrophe in your logo what else can’t you be bothered to do?

The jam was excellent, as good as any strawberry jam I’ve ever had. It’s quite runny and has an intense flavour that  grabs you under the ears (“meks yer tabs laugh” as they say in Nottingham). Top marks for that.

Same goes for the Yorkshire Tea Loaf – very good. We actually bought more scones and managed to make the contents of the box into three afternoon teas, which was even better than just having it for one. It was jam and cream scones the first day. jam and cream scone with Tea Loaf for the second day and jam scones with tea loaf the second day. It lasted well.

The tea, I’m afraid to say, was a bit overpowering for my taste, though that may be  a fault of my water rather than the tea.

It was, as I recall £16 when I looked it up, which is good value, including next day delivery. At the moment they have a Christmas themed selection which doesn’t strike me as such great value.

If you are looking for a hamper you could try Mrs Botham. Botham’s of Whitby offer great food, excellent pork pies, and a reasonably-priced selection, plus they treat apostrophes with proper respect.

Bettys Box Lid

Cream Teas

I mentioned cream teas a couple of days ago, and was asked to provide more details. It seems that the concept of the cream tea hasn’t travelled to America, which is surprising as it contains a lot of fat and sugar, which are what I consider to be two of the main ingredients in American food. Looking at the Wiki entry for clotted cream it seems it would be classed as butter in the USA, which would really confuse things.

The cream tea as we know it dates back to the 1850s, according to the Cream Tea Society. Other sources cite dates of 1931 and even 1964. The latter date is cited by the OED, and I can’t say they’ve exactly covered themselves in glory in this case. I’m sure I’ve seen references to them in the 1920s and 30s (whilst reading classic crime novels and I will make a note when I next see a reference – I haven’t made one before because I didn’t realise I would ever need the information.

There are even references going back to the 10th century.

My mother, who worked in a farm tea shop at weekends in the dim and distant past, remembered making cream teas well before 1964.

TESCO cream tea

The normal cream tea consists of scones, strawberry jam, clotted cream and tea. There is a traditional Cornish version which uses Cornish splits, but I’ve never actually seen one. In the south west I’ve often had it with plain scones, though in the rest of the country it’s usually a fruit scone.

I’ve also had other jam, and in fact I do like apricot jam with my cream tea.

There’s no such latitude with the cream. Cornish Clotted Cream  is a protected product and can only be made in Cornwall from milk produced in Cornwall.

As for the tea to accompany it, I noted that at TESCO you can pay extra and have it with coffee. I’m not sure why, but my view of coffee is not a positive one. Any beverage that is improved by passing through the digestive tract of a weasel is not really one for me.

That just leaves one area to cover – cream first with jam on top (Devon style) or jam first with cream on top (Cornish style). Debrett’s says jam first and cream on top.

It’s like the milk in first debate – there is no right answer.

Misleading picture

Note that they serve it with jam on top. In reality the jam provided with the cream tea has no chunks of fruit in it, so doesn’t look quite so attractive.