About a year ago my friend and fellow artist, Selena Wright, and I started taking the odd day out to explore Wiltshire and visit art inspired places and savour some culture to recharge our hearts and souls.
It must have been the second time we went out, to Lacock Abbey, and it was a wonderful warm day so we decided we'd crown it with a traditional cream tea; it was rather delicious.
The next time we went out we joked that we'd have to check out another cream tea. After the third time this happened we joked that we should blog our experiences and give our marks out of ten.
Now, we aren't qualified chefs, just two people who LOVE a good cream tea. But almost a year later, and after many "yes we must do that" we've decided that today is as good a day as any to start blogging about our adventures.
So, finding ourselves recently in the beautiful town of Bradford on Avon, and having worked up an appetite, we found a wonderful little tea room just opposite the Informations centre. Called The Bridge Tea Rooms, this beautiful tea room and restaurant was formerly a blacksmiths cottage dating back to 1502. It's full of qwerky original features that come with an old building - you can read more on their website.
The menu boasted the "best cream tea" and if you go this time of year you can experience seven amazing options of afternoon tea, including a Champagne one.
We chose our teas, and with our orders made we waited and enjoyed the time to take in all the bits decorating the walls. It's an artists little spot of paradise.
The tables were set with matching tea sets. Two generous teapots (one with breakfast tea, the other with Empress of Peking Tea - loose tea leaves in both cases. Then another large teapot of hot water for topping up our teapots. I love the fact we didn't have to ask for this, they really understand tea drinkers.
When the cream tea arrived it came with two good sized scones, one plain and one with fruit (my personal favourite). It also came with two generous helpings of home made jam. One was raspberry and the other damson, both of which were delicious. Finally, the clotted cream; a mountain of it. We were told it was from a local supplier, just six miles from the Tea Room. It was very very good. I must add, this was for one person, my friend had a matching plate of goodies.
Is your mouth watering too??
We've realised over the year leading up to this first blog, that size isn't everything. We've had big scones that weren't very exciting, and small ones that were divine, so we have put it down to taste, and quality. In the case of the jam and clotted cream - as well as how good they tasted we also decided that how much we were given did make a difference, you can't skimp on this area after all...
It's a very good one. They have earned their right to be quoted as the best cream tea. The scones were fresh and not too heavy; definitely home made and generous with the fruit. The jams were tasty, you could really taste the fruit and they married well to the texture of the scones. The Clotted Cream was the finishing touch, really very good indeed. And in all cases, the tea, the scones, the jams and the cream, all were generous portions.
Although we aren't marking the service I have to note that the ladies who served us were friendly, helpful and excellent at their jobs, it's certainly a place of pride and it shows in their bearing and service.
We wanted to give this 10 out of 10 but worried we'd give ourselves no room to find a better one. However, it has set the bar high and leaves us a benchmark for futures cream teas! 9.5 out of 10
Selena and I have giggled over this debate every time we sit down to a cream tea. I'm a Jam first, she's a cream first... She tells me that she treats the cream like a butter and then piles on the jam. I prefer to use the jam first so I can pile of the cream. My logic being that if you put the cream on first that the jam can slide off it...
Tell me what you think, especially if you're from Devon or Cornwall, where I hear there is much debate over the subject.
And do you know any other traditions that comes with eating Creams Teas?
Our thanks to everyone at The Bridge Tea Rooms.
If you are inspired to visit them after this little blog you can find them at
24a Bridge Street
Bradford on Avon
This time of year they suggest booking a table, you can contact them on 01225 865537