What goes on a scone first – jam or cream?

It might be a chicken and the egg situation, but which is the best way to have a cream tea?

Since the 11th century, cream tea has been one of the biggest English traditions with millions going out and enjoying a scones, clotted cream, jams and an assortment of sandwiches.

But there’s an ongoing debate the best etiquette when it came to how to apply the cream and the jam to the scone – pronunciation not withstanding.

So, here it is: the cream tea dilemma.

Traditionally, it has been that people in Devon spread clotted cream on the scone, then finish with a dollop of jam, while the Cornish tradition does the reverse, with jam going first and clotted cream on top.

Celebrities have argued about this, and the Queen, an example all things proper, has reportedly got her own method in Balmoral. But what do the bakers think about this conundrum?

Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms in York told Metro.co.uk there’s ‘no hard and fast rule’ when it comes to the way they eat their scones.

Assistant Manager Megan Baldwin tells us: ‘Some people have strong feelings about whether jam or cream should go on the scone first. In Devon typically they spread the clotted cream first followed by jam, whereas the Cornish tradition is to spread jam first followed by cream.

‘But there are no hard and fast rules and at Bettys we let the customer decide for themselves. Afternoon Tea is a delicious treat and you should enjoy it whatever way you want – even if that means cakes before sandwiches!’

Brigit Bloch, founder of Brigit’s Bakery, said: ‘I think it comes down to personal preference however I always advise any of our customers who ask that traditional British etiquette suggests that the cream should be spread on a scone before the jam.’

The team over at Gail’s Bakery say they prefer the Devonshire tradition, but are more adventurous when it comes to the type of jam used.

The Gail’s bakers said: ‘The bakers at Gail’s are unanimous in the view that cream should come first, followed by lashings of Gail’s organic jam.

‘Traditionalists can choose classic Strawberry and those with a more adventurous palate can opt for a floral Raspberry & Rose or aromatic Apricot & Lavender Leaf.’

In 2018, Darren McGrady, ex-chef to the royal family between 1982 and 1993 was caught in a Twitter storm after an article showed jam on top of the cream.

He tweeted at the time: ‘Jam first at Buckingham Palace garden parties! ‘The Queen always had homemade Balmoral jam first.

‘With clotted cream on top at Buckingham Palace garden parties in the royal tea tent and all royal tea parties.’

No matter how you have your Afternoon Tea, this age old English tradition and debate doesn’t look as if it’ll be going anywhere any time soon.

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