At the height of National Afternoon Tea Week, the age-old debate over whether one should put jam or cream first continues to rumble on. However, irrespective of which technique is best, research by Love Fresh Berries shows that there is a clear preference amongst Brits.
Should you put the jam or the cream first on scones? Our international readers will probably be thinking, does it matter? In all honesty, probably not, as cream scones taste delicious whichever way you go. However, in some parts of the country, i.e. Devon and Cornwall, it is important, a matter of regional pride, and it relates to tradition.
What the research tells us
New research by Love Fresh Berries has found that an impressive nine in ten Brits eat scones – with 62% of scone eaters putting jam on first before cream, with just 23% putting on cream first and jam second. However, a third of Brits felt the secret to the crème de la crème of cream teas was adding a fresh strawberry to the mix – which they said made it taste even better.
Fresh strawberries aside, Londoners are the most likely to find the research results jammy – with the capital the nation’s biggest trend buckers, with over a third opting for cream first.
Age also plays its part in scone philosophy, with four in ten 18–24-year-olds putting cream on before jam – whereas just one in ten of those aged 65 and over opted for this method. Although both age cohorts firmly agreed that jam and cream belong on scones (96% and 94%, respectively).
Love Fresh Berries approached the UK’s leading etiquette expert William Hanson for his thoughts on the debate.
Hanson says, “There are many who will spend long, fruitful hours arguing as to whether it should be jam then cream or cream then jam. The answer lies in whether you are going Cornish or Devonian. The former like to show off their clotted cream and so place it on top of the jam, whereas Devonians like their cream seeping into the warm scone below.
“Both are acceptable, but what is never permissible is to sandwich the two halves together. However, if you find yourself being served scones with aerosol cream in a cafe or hotel, the only proper thing to do is have the local council close it down immediately.”
Nick Marston, Chairman of Love Fresh Berries, said, “British berries are at the height of their season in Britain – with the long summer sunlight hours meaning they taste fantastically sweet. They are the beating hearts of a good traditional cream tea and can be added fresh, put into scone mix or made into delicious jams.”
Irrespective of the order you plump for, whether it’s Jam first (my preference) or cream, rest assured that your cream scone will taste delicious, and my advice to our younger readers is to enjoy them while you can. As you get older, the potential for lactose intolerance increases – mark my words!
Love Fresh Berries has a selection of delicious recipes to try for National Afternoon Tea week; click on one of the links below for more information.
- Chillied strawberry jam
- Blackberry jam
- Strawberry Mille-Feuille (shown above)
- Classic Victoria sandwich cake
- Raspberry Fondant Fancies (shown below)
- Very berry whoopies
Read more food news and guides in our dedicated culinary section.