Cream teas at Grim’s Dyke – a quintessentially English treat

Samantha PillingFood and Drink

Cream Tea

Traditionally an afternoon speciality of Devon and Cornwall, cream teas are now enjoyed throughout the entire country. We at Grim’s Dyke believe that nothing quite beats a nice hot cup of tea, served with a generous warm scone, smothered in strawberry jam and clotted cream… and that’s why we serve them as a delightful afternoon treat, in the Drawing Room, Library Bar or Gilbert’s Restaurant here at the Grim’s Dyke hotel.

Devon or Cornwall?

Traditionally, afternoon cream teas served in Cornwall were served with a ‘Cornish split’ – a slightly sweet white bread roll. These rolls are now rarely seen with commercially served cream teas in Cornwall, but are still served in Cornish households.

Evidence however, suggests that the scrummy cream tea originated in Devon – so much so, in May 2010 a campaign was launched at the Devon County Show to have the name ‘Devon Cream Tea’ protected within the EU, under Protected Designation of Origin rules!

Historians in Tavistock have been piecing together ancient manuscripts and have discovered that it may have been the monks at Tavistock’s Benedictine Abbey who created this afternoon treat.

A little piece of history, with a big dollop of clotted cream!

The 10th century Tavistock Abbey was badly damaged by Vikings in 997AD. Ordulf, the Earl of Devon, with the help of local workers, took on the work of restoring the badly damaged Abbey. To thank the workers, the monks fed them bread spread with clotted cream and strawberry jam – and the tradition is said to have been born. So popular were these cream teas, the monks fed them to passing travellers who, in turn, passed on their appreciation of cream teas.

This delightful afternoon meal is now seen as a quintessential English pastime. The one thing cream tea lovers of Devon and Cornwall both agree on though, is the cream needs to be clotted – no whipped or squirty cream allowed!

There are however, regional variations on how it is served and this leads onto….


…Cream tea’s biggest dilemma!

When it comes to eating a cream tea, there’s an age-old dilemma that has been raging:

What DO you put on your scone first; jam or cream…

…and is there even a correct order to compiling a cream tea?

The answer is – it depends on where you’re eating it! If you’re devouring a traditional cream tea in Devon, you split the warm scone and spread both unbuttered halves with clotted cream, followed by strawberry jam. In Cornwall however, you butter the warm scone and spread on the strawberry jam – followed by a generous helping of clotted cream.

I fear the dilemma (and rivalry) between Devon and Cornwall, regarding the origins of a cream tea, who’s clotted cream is better AND how exactly you assemble a cream team, is far from over!

Afternoon Tea at The Grim’s Dyke Hotel

You can enjoy a delightful afternoon cream tea here at Grim’s Dyke. Options include Half Cream Tea, Full Cream Tea and Royal Cream Tea, prices start at £11.95. Served with delicately prepared sandwiches and cream cakes, cream teas are available Monday to Friday, between the hours of 2pm and 4pm, and 1pm until 4pm on a Saturday… and we really don’t mind whether you spread the cream or jam first!

We have a Cream Tea to suit your appetite and wallet, with a Half Cream Tea for £11.95, a Full Cream Tea for £16.95 and a Royal Cream Tea (which includes a glass of champagne) for £21.95.

See our Afternoon Tea Menu for further details.

Private Parties: Afternoon Tea Experience

The Grim’s Dyke Hotel prides itself on a high level of service and a commitment to ensure each occasion held at the hotel is a success.  We have experience hosting a wide range of events including; Anniversaries, Baby Showers, Bar Mitzvahs, Birthday Parties, Christenings, Engagements, Funeral Gatherings, Retirement Parties, Weddings and Corporate Private Dining.

For just £26.95 per person you can enjoy a private party and exclusive use of your choice of banqueting suite.

The exclusive package includes:

  • Exclusive hire of your chosen banqueting suite for four hours.
  • White table linen, napkins, cutlery and glassware.
  • Full Afternoon Cream Tea and unlimited Tea and Coffee
  • Jugs of ice water for each table
  • Dedicated Duty manager and Banqueting Staff
  • Personalised menu & table plan
  • Events co-ordinator to help plan your event
  • VAT included

Minimum 25 packages required for the Gilbert’s Restaurant and Drawing Room.  Minimum 40 packages required for the Music Room.

Please contact the Conference and Banqueting Team for price and availability for your day.
Tel: 020 8385 3100

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