What do you spread first on your scone – jam or cream?
This ancient debate stems from the rivalry between neighbouring United Kingdom counties Devon and Cornwall and was reignited this week over a photo of scones shared by a 19th-century Cornish estate.
Lanhydrock House shared a controversial image on its Facebook page of scones halved with a dollop of cream and topped with a spoonful of jam as part of a Mother’s Day advertisement.
It was met with widespread outrage, particularly from the Cornish people who began the hashtag #JamFirst.
They claimed that the concept of cream being spread first is traditionally the scone preparation method in Devonshire, sparking the #CreamFirst retort from many based in Devon.
“Not a true Cornish cream tea then!” Tracy Broocks wrote on Facebook in reaction to the post.
Show your mum you care this Mother's Day with afternoon tea in Lanhydrock's Servants' Hall restaurant. Inspired by…
“Wow … just wow. No one would pay for that, it’s just all wrong,” Kimberley Collins, another local, commented.
The outrage was such that it triggered Lanhydrock House to publicly apologise for the “appalling error” and “any offence caused”.
However, even some of those from Devon did not seem to agree with the widely accepted claims that #CreamFirst is a practice traditionally from Devonshire.
“I’m from Devon and it’s definitely jam first,” Carol Clarke wrote on Facebook.
“I can never understand where cream first being from Devon came from – never.”
To set the record straight, The New Daily contacted some Australian cafes renowned for their scones.
Despite Australians often claiming to enjoy a classic “Devonshire tea” of a Sunday afternoon – known simply as “cream tea” in the UK – it was in fact Cornwall’s #JamFirst campaign that took the cake.
The Country Women’s Association of Australia’s Pamela Yensch said it was jam first, cream second by CWA standards.
“That is how l’ve always seen it done,” she said.
“Cream can break down if placed on warm scone.
“Traditionally strawberry jam and clotted cream is a favourite.”
Ash Kinchin, owner and manager of The Tea Cosy at The Rocks in Sydney, who had followed the UK controversy, said she agreed.
“We think the proper way to do it is jam first, then cream,” she said.
“This is because the cream is not butter and it holds its consistency and taste better if it’s on top of jam rather than a hot scone.
“Whipped cream is the absolute pits. We serve a double thickened cream that is similar to clotted. Whipped cream is too light and turns to liquid on a scone.”
Ms Kinchin added that The Cosy has seen a multitude of “scone abuse” from various customers over the years.
“There have been people who eat scones with a knife and fork (gasp),” she said.
“Others cut the scone down the middle in a vertical line rather than horizontal (eek).
“Some people put the jam and cream on the outside of the scone and don’t cut it all, eating it like an apple with cream and jam spread on it (ahhhh)!”
But David Perry, CEO of The Windsor in the Paris end of Melbourne’s CBD which serves 60,000 afternoon teas every year, said their customers’ preference for spreading either jam or cream first appeared to be more or less evenly split.
“Personally I would suggest jam first but that is only through childhood lessons from a Welsh mother who sees afternoon tea as the most important meal of the day,” Mr Perry said.
“At The Hotel Windsor, traditional and fruit scones are served piping hot from the oven, accompanied with strawberry jam and double cream.”