A quintessentially British tradition, afternoon tea is one of the best-loved food offerings served at Ascot Racecourse.
This year’s Festival of Food & Wine Racing Weekend – Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th September with Flat racing on Friday and Saturday – is set to be a glorious weekend of feasting, drinking and racing with Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown headlining the event, alongside two-Michelin star chef Raymond Blanc OBE on Saturday 9th September.
Making the event lineup even sweeter, Candice Brown will be creating a signature cake – mini rhubarb and orange blossom Victoria sponges – to be served as part of Ascot’s afternoon tea menu.
With much debate around achieving cream tea perfection, Candice Brown shares her tips, tricks and top picks for making her ideal afternoon treat:
“For me, the perfect cream tea has to be a light and fluffy scone so it’s important not to overwork the mixture – the less you handle it the better. I love a good raspberry jam on mine too – I like to make my own nice tangy one that’s not too sweet. I tend to lean towards the Cornish method so like to put the cream on first and when it comes to pronunciation…I’m definitely a scone rhyming with ‘gone’ kind of girl!”
Enjoyed by the nation for hundreds of years, the method of assembling the sweet classic has long been in dispute. Ascot recruited the help of Food Scientist Dr Stuart Farrimond to uncover the formula for the perfect cream tea.
The formula for scone perfection
According to Dr Farrimond’s research, a cream tea should be constructed with a weight ratio of 4:3:3 – 40g scone, 30g of clotted cream and 30g of jam – as this achieves the ‘hedonic breakpoint’. This ratio means that the ideal cream tea will be 4cm in height, with the scone reaching 2cm before being topped with a layer of jam and cream that are 1cm each.
Jam first or cream first? It’s Devon vs Cornwall
The big dispute around the classic cream tea comes from whether it should be jam first or cream. Cornish loyalists believe jam should go first with the cream following on top. Advocates of a Devon-style cream tea insist the cream should go directly on the scone with jam as the crowning glory. Dr Farrimond’s research shows that the Devonshire method is easier to construct because jam is not viscous enough to support the easy spreading of the cream when on top. 57% of people surveyed preferred a Devon-style scone but the research also highlights that it tends to have a higher calorie count, if the 4:3:3 ratio is not adhered to, as the relative ease with which toppings can be applied subconsciously encourages the eater to use more of each.
Jonathan Parker, Director of Food & Beverage at Ascot Racecourse, said: “Afternoon tea is an integral part of the Ascot Racecourse food offering and is served throughout the year. The Festival of Food & Wine Racing Weekend in September is a culinary highlight, combining two days of exhilarating Flat racing with a four-day celebration of food and wine, so we wanted to build on the popularity of our afternoon tea to make it a foodie feature.
“Working with the likes of Candice Brown, who has designed a delicious addition to our stylish afternoon tea, echoes our continued commitment to delivering excellent food and Fine Dining experiences, raising the bar year-on-year to ensure there is always something new to savour each time a racegoer visits.”
“Our guests all have different methods and approaches to making a cream tea so we were excited to discover the science behind the perfect creation. Serving our scones whole with toppings on the side allows people to enjoy their preferred method, whether that’s the Devon or Cornish way.”
As well as live chef demonstrations, more than 140 stallholders will be showcasing scrumptious produce from across Britain and beyond. Top chefs, including two-Michelin star holder Raymond Blanc OBE, will be hosting demonstrations in the Cooking Theatre with barbecue master classes and communal eating at The Social Kitchen available each day.
The Festival of Food & Wine takes place from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th September with Flat racing on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th September. Entry starts from £18 per person to include access to both the festival and racing. Accompanied children under 18 years of age gain free entry at all Ascot race meetings.
BOOK YOUR TICKETS by Thursday 31st August 2017 to be in with a chance of winning afternoon tea for you and a friend in a private box from 3pm on Saturday 9th September at the Food & Wine Racing Weekend. Candice Brown will be on-hand to introduce the afternoon tea, talk through her creation, chat with winners and sign copies of her first ever cookbook Comfort: Delicious Bakes and Family Treats.