Devon Heaven are a member of Taste of the West who offer Devon cream and afternoon tea hampers. They have written this article all about the cream tea and its availability for delivery direct to your door, no matter where you live in the UK:
The cream tea, where a pot of tea is served with scones, jam and clotted cream, has always been a speciality of Devon and Cornwall since its origin which is claimed to date back to the 11th century. Monks from Tavistock Abbey in Devon, near the border with Cornwall, are thought of have started the tradition of eating bread with cream and jam. Helped by the expansion of the railways and the growing trendiness of afternoon teas, the cream tea became known nationally and its popularity has grown ever since. The best cream teas are still found in Devon and Cornwall, but they are often included in afternoon teas throughout the rest of the UK, and with a sizable number of local companies now sending cream teas by post they’re becoming more and more accessible.
Sending cream teas by post is quite a competitive area, with lots of companies keen to benefit from one of the West Country’s most sellable assets. Companies providing cream teas to the rest of the UK include hamper companies, large hotels, tourist gift shops, farms shops and local wholesalers keen to expand business through the internet. Most of these businesses are based within Devon or Cornwall and sell other food types that the region does particularly well such as cider and West Country cheeses, but there are also some outside of the region specialising in afternoon teas by post.
Afternoon tea hampers work really well as a gift; they’re popular among all ages and make for a more interesting present than traditional flowers or chocolates. Consumers have become more aware of the benefits of buying local food, particularly for its traceability, and local produce has a quality and uniqueness that is even more desirable when buying a gift for someone else. Cream tea hampers are an affordable present and are a popular thank-you, get well soon and anniversary gift. The freshness of the cream and scones does mean that next day delivery is used and it’s best if the recipient is at home or has a neighbour/safe place where the parcel can be left. Clotted cream is placed in an insulated packet with an ice pack to help keep it cool. Although conditions during delivery can’t be controlled and the parcel may sometimes be held at a sorting depot overnight, generally clotted cream will be unaffected by this. It actually keeps for much longer than is often assumed and is safe to eat even when out of the fridge for a few of days; this is due to the acidity that builds as it ages preventing the growth of any bacteria. Having said this, we obviously recommend that cream is refrigerated upon delivery and enjoyed at its very best straight from the fridge!
Langage Farm, who are based on the edge of Dartmoor, produce the Devonshire clotted cream for Devon Heaven. Historically, Cornish and Devonshire clotted creams were produced using different methods, with Cornish clotted cream produced through heating and Devonshire clotted cream through the old process of lapping the cream without heat. Nowadays, both counties make clotted cream with modern machinery through either the ‘float’ or ‘scald’ techniques. Langage Farm is the largest manufacturer of clotted cream in Devon and the first UK Carbon Neutral Dairy with an Anaerobic Digester Facility generating electricity from food waste, which supplies the farm and dairy with its energy needs. Cornish clotted cream has been awarded ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ status, along with the likes of champagne and Parma ham. Rodda’s of Cornwall began producing clotted cream more than 120 years ago and despite being the world’s biggest producer, they remain a family run business. Devon Heaven sell a Devon vs Cornwall cream tea hamper containing both Langage Farm and Rodda’s clotted cream for recipients to decide for themselves which is best.
Local chef Richard Hunt, referred to by Kirstie Allsopp as her baking mentor, produces the scones. For his scones Richard has taken the best elements from the modern scone and traditional Devon / Cornish split. There isn’t too much difference between Devon and Cornish splits. Both are more bread like than the modern cake based scone, with the Devon variant said to be further towards the bread end of the spectrum. The less dense Devon splits are better than scones at soaking up the cream. Richard likes tall scones that can be broken into three segments so uses natural yogurt in his recipe as its acidity aids the performance of the baking powder giving the scones amplified rise.
There are many tea producers based in the South West with some tea actually grown here. Devonshire Tea, a family run business in Exeter who responsibly source, blend and package outstanding tea which is used to finish off Devon Heaven’s truly Devonshire cream tea hampers.