Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What is a Crème Tea? This caught my eye quickly because I have the same Johnson Brothers ironstone.

What is a cream tea?  It is not tea with cream in it.  It is a type of afternoon tea meal. A cream tea, Devonshire tea or Cornish cream tea is tea taken with a combination of scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. In some instances whipped cream is used. In Devon, they split the scone, spread with clotted creme and top with jam. In Cornwall, they spread the jam first then top with clotted creme.

Now, we Americans ask: what is clotted cream?  Clotted cream is not made in the United States because we pasteurize our milk. It is made when unpasteurized milk is indirectly heated and cooled in shallow containers. Clots form as it cools and the cream rises. The fat content is at least 55% or higher. You can buy imported clotted cream in the U.S. The Devon Company from Corsham, England exports English Double Devon Cream. It has a yellowish color.
A friend brought me this clotted cream and I can't wait to try the real thing.
You also can make your own clotted cream. I found this recipe from the a Little blog.

2 pints heavy cream preferably with a high fat content and not ultra pasteurized. (Like Cedar Summit Farms)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Pour cream into deep oven safe dish (at least 3 or more inches deep)
Cover and bake 8-12 hours or until the cream has formed a thick, yellow skin.
Cool at room temperature and then refrigerate for eight hours.
Skim the yellow clotted cream from the top and serve. You can use the cream that remains below for baking. Yields 1 cup clotted cream.

I tried this recipe with ultra pasterized whipping creme. Here is a pic. I was an interesting experiment. Think I will stick to the bought Devonshire cream even though it is expensive! I guess curiosity killed the cat applies to me in this case. I went to all the trouble of doing this and then was afraid to try it.

I pinned this picture from because you can see both the Devon tradition and the Cornwall version on a muffin.

Creme tea is an afternoon tradition in England that began in the eighteenth century when Duchess of Bedford would order tea to revive her flagging spirits.  You may read a very interesting history of afternoon tea here.

 My husband and I visited the Lake Country in England and enjoyed a quaint creme tea at this inn. I didn't know what to expect and the mystique and anticipation was a thrill for me.
 Our creme tea. It was delightful!

The other two ladies were with our tour on a day trip from London. During the train ride to and from the lake country, these ladies were so interesting and enjoyable. One was an American ex-pat living in London, and the other was from Omaha, and this was her fourth or fifth trip to London.

The grounds were beautiful, but I digress.

Another debate is: which comes first, the creme or the tea? According to, milk goes in after tea. Sugar is placed in the cup first, then thinly sliced lemon, and never milk and lemon together.

You can enjoy elegant tea at The Ritz in London.

 Or you can join my friends and me at my home.

 Last week we had a delightful afternoon sipping tea, eating scones with lemon curd and jam and lots of cream as well as a southern favorite, pound cake.

Each guest brought their own teacup and shared their story.

The brown betty teapot was mentioned in my last post here.
The teacups pictured above will be brought to the table, and their story will be shared too. There wasn't room on the tray for all the teacups.

My dear mother-in-law gave me this beautiful cloth and napkins many years ago, and I loved using them.

I had a great time reading some of my books about serving tea and the history of tea. The teacher in me decided to make a display and share some of the things I had learned about tea customs.

Would you believe one of my guests was visiting  Kentucky and out shopping and attended a book signing. Look at the book she brought me. We all enjoyed looking at it and it is full of wonderful recipes.
I was thrilled with the autographed copy and it fit so well in the conversation.
As my table plans evolved, I remembered my tea caddies and decided to use them as part of the centerpiece. Adding a piece of lace, my great-grandmother crocheted made me realize these items are part of the past. The antique crochet hook is also English. It was a  hostess gift from my friend when her son married that shared the brown betty story with me.

One of the books I found intriguing was Antiques for the Table.
These are antique tea caddy spoons! They are so beautiful, and I would love to have just one. I looked them up on eBay, but they do not fit my budget!

We had a special younger guest that was adorable. She enjoyed her tea too!

My friend Nita made all the tea and served us. Her favorite tea is PG Tips, an English tea.
 I wish I had a recording to listen to each teacup's story again. I enjoyed the stories very much.
I realize everyone is not pictured, and also do apologize for the blurring. I was not concentrating very well on taking pictures because I was too busy enjoying the conversation and didn't want to do anything to distract. You know how people scatter when you get out a camera!

Maxine brought three teacups from her childhood all carefully glued back together.
One of my Sunday School lessons recently highlighted nourishing relationships. As I polished several tarnished silver items as I prepared for the crèam tea it made me think that for something to shine and glow, it takes time, work, and effort. Relationships are like that too. Our lives are so busy but do we take time to nourish and treasure our relationships?

I hope you might take this idea and plan a get-together with your friends. It can be simple or as elaborate as your time allows.

Tea was served from the beautiful white teapot that has a story too. Stay tuned.
Thank you for staying with me because I know this post has gotten rather long. I will share the food I served and recipes in my next post, and maybe a few stories.
I hope if you didn't know what crème tea was, you do now. To recap, it is not tea with cream in it. It is a type of afternoon meal having tea with scones, clotted cream, and jam.

Linking to :Wow Us Wednesday, Tablescape Thursday,
and Open House Party Thursday.


  1. Your cream tea looks
    absolutely delightful,
    and I'm proud of you
    for trying to make your
    own Devonshire cream!

    I absolutely adore taking
    afternoon tea with friends.
    If I had it in the Lake Country
    I would be in true bliss!

    I bet you and I would have
    so much fun taking tea,

    Love all your pics : )

    xo Suzanne

  2. I did not know about this! It was fun learning the history about it. I have gone to an afternoon tea before with a friend at The Ritz Carlton in Atlanta. It was a lot of fun. I felt so pampered and the tea and light food served was delicious! Looks like you had a great turn-out for your tea. Your table looked beautiful.

  3. Hi, Bonnie! I love your comparison you made between polishing silver and caring for relationships in life. Excellent analogy! That would also making the polishing process go a lot smoother and seem less of a chore to think of it like that! :-) What a wonderful experience you had on your trip to London!!! My goodness....having tea like a "proper lady" is something we all aspire to! And then to replicate that fabulous experience at home...wonderful!!!!!!! I love the idea of each lady bringing her own tea cup along with the story behind it!!! I will have to borrow that idea! I must admit I have never tried milk in my tea. Maybe one day I'll get brave. I practically DROWN my coffee in it, so...! :-) Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Bonnie,
    Intriquing and informative Cream Tea post, dear one!
    I have a recipe from Tea Time for a mock Devonshire Cream!
    It is delicious!!!
    I made it for my friend's 70th Birthday and had her over for Tea!
    We have an amazing relationship despite the difference in our ages!!!
    My beloved Mother~in~law was English and she always put milk in her Tea!
    By the way, your crochet table cloth and napkins are exquisite!!!
    Thank you for sharing Cream Tea with us! I enjoyed it immensely!!!

  5. Bonnie,
    you have taught me something I did not know...and it sounds like my kind of tea..especially since you mentioned lemon curd.. of my favorites.this looks like it was a wonderful gathering of friends and you were a wonderful hostess..
    enjoyed your post a lot.

  6. Bonnie, what an absolutely charming post. I learned so much. Now to go find some clotted cream, because like you, making it won't happen around here. I think it's absolutely delightful that everyone brings a tea cup to share the story.. What a wonderful idea. Everything looked so pretty. Happy St. Pat's and may all blessings come your way.. xo marlis

  7. Oh dear Bonnie, I love this post, so beautiful and lots to learn as well, with a beautiful display of everything, fron the teacup "princesses" everyone brought, to teapots and tray and cloches..simply charming. Thank you for shating it with us. Big hugs and happy St. Pat's to you all.

  8. What a beautiful post, Bonnie! Great get together.I was drooling over that tablecloth, how stunning! Thank you for the all the info you shared here....Christine

  9. Grand cream tea in England! It brings back memories of my visits there! Your wonderful tea is very elegant with your beautiful tea caddies. I know each person's story was so meaningful. I spotted the Spode "Chinese Rose" pattern and several Royal Doulton patterns on the tray of cups and saucers. I'm certain it was a lovely tea party!


  10. Bonnie~ What a WONDERFUL post! Now I'm ready for tea, to restore flagging spirits indeed! Your table and your photography is stunning! What an exquisite cloth and napkins! I love the idea of everyone bringing a favorite cup. I have a friend whose mother was British and she will only drink PG Tips. Love your books too!

  11. What a delightful post! I really love the idea of having everyone bring a teacup and saucer and tell its story! I would have a hard time deciding which one to bring -- ALL of mine have stories! Your table is beautiful -- that tablecloth is stunning!

  12. This is such a beautiful post! We had a cream tea at the sweetest little teahouse in Brighton. I loved it! I must try and host one myself-thanks you for these gorgeous ideas!

    Hope you have been well and that you have had a great week.

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

  13. Of course, you're singing my song when you speak of cherishing and spending time to 'polish' relationships. You put it so beautifully! We stayed at the Ritz in London on a trip there. It was so spectacular, and the tea was a highlight of our time there....but the Ritz is a story unto itself...another time. Thanks for inviting us for a peak. Cherry Kay

  14. Bonnie, I told you this morning in SS that I had seen this post, but when I went to your blog, I realized that I had not. Just wanted to tell you again what a lovely afternoon that was. It just makes me want to take a trip to "Merry Ole England". Everything from your beautifully set table to the delicious English dainties that you prepared for us were just exquisite! I especially enjoyed hearing the interesting stories of the teacups brought and just sharing in a simply delightful experience of the past.Lovely, lovely !Maxine

  15. I forgot to tell you the names of the teacups. My little childhood teacup was "Made in Occupied Japan", Mother's demitasse cups were: 1. Copelands Grosvenor China, England 2. "Bristol" Crown Ducal, England ( That was the pink and white one.) The Copelands had another name that I found on the internet - I think it was Wu Ting, but will look it up and let you know. Maxine

  16. Bonnie, thank you so much in educating me on the meaning of creme tea. I love the spot where you and your hubby had tea in England. I think I would be the jam with the clotted cream on top type of girl.
    Your tablecloth is stunning and I am oohing and ahhing over here. What a fun tea party you and your friends had. I would love to hear the history of all the pretty teacups. Aren't tea drinkers such gentle souls??

  17. I love this post! I will refer to it next time I host my own little tea party. The guests of honor are usually my mom and Virginia! :) But we do love scones! We even bought Marmite one time because it is mentioned by so many of the British authors my mom and I love. Marmite is terrible however, I would not recommend it. I love trying new teas, but I have to say that my very favorite is still Constant Comment by Bigelow. It is a wonderful afternoon tea. Earl Gray is my favorite breakfast tea - I love the Harney Bros. blend but will continue trying new ones. I love seeing your table decor, all the gorgeous camellias, and what a fantastic idea to have your friends bring their favorite tea cup and a story along with it! Bravo!


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