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The Legendary Devon Cream Tea

The history and mytholgy of this traditional local treat


Cream Tea at Cafe on the Green
You can enjoy a Cream Tea at the Cafe on the Green in Widecombe

No stay at Lower Venton Farm would be complete without a proper Devon cream tea - but have you ever wondered about the origins of this delicious traditional delicacy?


The Legend of Clouted Cream

Legend tells us that when Brutus of Troy the founding hero of Britain landed at Totnes and drove out the giants, many made their home on Dartmoor.  


The giant Blunderbus settled at Dinger Tor with his four wives.  His youngest wife, Jennie, was kind and beautiful but had never learned to cook.  Even so, Blunderbus favoured Jennie enraging his other three wives who conspired to get rid of her.  They burnt his food, refused to clean, made his bed uncomfortable and nagged him from morning to night until tired and dirty and suffering from indigestion he banished Jennie to a cave on the Cornish cliffs where he would visit her when he could get away from his other wives.


One night Jennie saved a Phoenician ship from Cornish wreckers who were trying to lure it onto the rocks below her cave.  In return the Phoenician captain taught her to make clouted cream - now known as clotted cream.  


When Blunderbus tasted this wonderful new food he immediately took Jennie back to Dinger Tor where his other wives, equally impressed, begged her to show them how to make it.  The fame of this clouted cream spread and the three other wives spent their days happily teaching people from all over Devon how to make it.


This left Blunderbus and Jennie to live happily together, free from indigestion and the envy of his other wives.


The First Cream Teas

Cream teas originated in Devon in 997 AD when monks at Tavistock Abbey fed labourers restoring the Abbey with bread, clotted cream and strawberry preserves.  The cream teas proved so popular that the monks continued to serve them to passing travellers - presumably that is how they found their way into neighbouring Cornwall!  


Cream Tea Etiquette

As to how you should enjoy your cream tea - scones should be freshly baked and warm, split them by hand rather than cut with a knife.  Debretts' guide to etiquette advises that 'cream first' is the more practical approach, something we have known in Devon presumably since the 10th century!


Where Can You Enjoy a Cream Tea?

Enjoy a cream tea at the Café on the Green in Widecombe, or in a traditional setting with a range of fine teas at Taylor's for Tea in Ashburton, or visit Buckfast Abbey where you can tour the Abbey to work up an appetite. 


Did you Know?

Totnes is home to the Brutus Stone, onto which Brutus the Trojan is said to have stepped when he arrived in Britain after his epic journey from Troy.  Located in Fore Street - the stone was lowered to pavement level in 1810.  It is a town custom that royal proclamations should be read there by the mayor. 


 

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