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  • Writer's pictureNancy, Hostess of Cup & Crown

Learn to Love Clotted Cream

It's almost National Cream Tea Day, which is celebrated each year on the last Friday of June. Cream teas - which consist of tea and scones topped with clotted cream and jam - are a popular mealtime (more like an in-between-mealtime) in England. With this year's recognition of the popular tea time, I thought it fitting to share my thoughts on cream tea, particularly clotted cream.

I recently and very happily hosted a mother-daughter tea for a local Girl Scout troop. What fun to be among these young girls and their mothers, grandmothers, and aunts and introduce them to the custom of Afternoon Tea!

In addition to catering and serving, I also gave a brief presentation about etiquette, particularly as it pertains to having tea. Though I was prepared with a mental list of talking points, the troop leader provided me (and each participant) a printed handout she'd found online that listed common rules for a traditional English tea. I scanned the guidelines quickly, but my eyes stopped abruptly at #22, which instructs: "Learn to love clotted cream!"

Learn to love clotted cream? What is there to learn? The term implies one must make several attempts or "fake it 'til you make it" to overcome some unpleasantness of this popular scone accoutrement. The writer's advice sounds like what our parents told us about eating broccoli or asparagus when we were young. I assure you: tolerance is not required for this tea time favorite.

It's no wonder, really, that those of us on this side of The Pond have developed an aversion to a food that begins its identity with the word CLOT when the only use we have for it in America refers to the coagulation of blood. Yuck! In its defense, though, the popular spread earned its name from the process by which it is created: by indirectly heating then cooling whole cow's cream for an extended period of time until the cream thickens, solidifies... by definition, it clots.

So let me state and help to clarify once and for all whilst borrowing words from Cole Porter: clotted cream is delightful, it's delicious, it's delovely. Its buttery texture and cool, sweet flavor is a delicacy and the perfect complement to a well-baked scone and fruity jam. Enjoying clotted cream is no chore for those who frequently partake in afternoon and cream teas. I've never met a tea lover who found that eating - let alone loving - it a burden or something one had to strive to do.... No, eating clotted cream is not a task. It is a pleasurable indulgence.

So after educating my captive audience about the difference between afternoon tea and cream tea [read my previous blog "I Think You Mean Afternoon Tea" to learn about different teas], I called their attention to rule #22 and told them most assuredly that it's not a matter of learning to love clotted cream... it's simply a matter of trying clotted cream. Because once you've tried it, you will love it. And you'll never again want your scone without it.

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