Monday 8 November 2010

devonshire cream teas

It’s about time I got round to writing this one, after all I have been back home for nearly a week now.

Living and working in Devon for nearly two months was certainly an experience, and certainly not one I regret in the least – living with Jenny was hard work at times, but never dull, in fact we spent probably 90% of our time together laughing – from minor kitchen epics, to supermarket fiascos and random ‘youtubing’ competitions, oh how we laughed.

Anyway, the main point of this post is simply to provide the reader with our guide to some of the best cream teas we sampled during our time in the county, so here we go!

  • Fradgley’s, Lynmouth Street, Lynmouth EX35 6EH

9 out of 10. I’m cheating a little with this one, as this time round we didn’t make it up to the north coast, but on my last Devonian work trip this place scored a huge hit – a cream tea here consists of two HUGE scones, decent jam and beautiful clotted cream in ideal amounts (although for me perhaps more cream than was really necessary!). I don’t remember much else, so the tea must have been acceptable – I can recommend this place as somewhere it’s worth skipping lunch to visit, the scones really were massive.

  • Primrose Cottage, Lustleigh, TQ13 9TJ

7 out of 10. This place really is a lovely place to stop for afternoon tea, situated in the Dartmoor village of Lustleigh, it would be well situated for the casual walker. Jenny and I stopped here for a ‘site meeting’ one afternoon after having attempted to visit the day before only to find the place closed – the opening hours and days do vary. Very nice tea, beautifully made scones, with nice jam and reasonable clotted cream, although perhaps a touch on the expensive side – a cream tea here costs £5.00 per person and the scones aren’t of an overly generous size, unlike some of the others we experienced. That said, for me they were an ideal size – perfect for an afternoon treat and not requiring an empty stomach to accommodate.

  • The Fingle Bridge Inn, Drewsteignton, EX6 6PW

9.5 out of 10. The only reason these guys don’t score the full 10 out of 10 is because the scones on offer were plain, there was no option of having a fruit scone which is normally my preference. Colossal freshly baked scones (and I mean freshly baked – these scones were not warm from having been thrown into the microwave for a few seconds, they were warm from quite literally having just been pulled from the oven. Admittedly this may not be the case on every visit – we were there mid Saturday afternoon at the beginning of the half term break, so prime time really) greeted us alongside gallons of proper tea (with a milk jug that actually poured!), pints of wonderfully fruity jam and several kilos of the thickest clotted cream I have ever seen – I kid you not, the cream was the stickiness and consistency of treacle, truly gorgeous.

Unlike the previous two venues mentioned, the Fingle Bridge Inn is in fact a pub and not a tea room, and you could easily be forgiven for not necessarily considering that they might in fact be the purveyors of what for me, was certainly one of, if not the best cream tea in Devon!




An honorary mention must go to the Service Station at Okehampton, just off the A30, for serving simple, decent cream teas, at a reasonable price, in a roadside diner that once used to be a Little Chef. The scones are smaller than the likes of the Fingle Bridge epics, but similar in size to what you are served in Lustleigh, and come warmed (likely in the microwave), with an adequate amount of proper clotted cream and some simple sachets of jam. This is not a gourmet cream tea, but I like the place and I always enjoy the teas here – not at all pretentious, ideally positioned for the hungry driver in need of a break, and open into the evening. Ideal!

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