It’s time to dust off your teapot, stockpile the scones and bake up a frenzy – that's right, it’s National Cream Tea Day!
Just as the name suggests, this is the ideal time for cream tea fanatics all over the world to raise a cuppa in celebration and enjoy a slice of cake and more, as the last Friday in June marks a whole day dedicated to the very British cream tea. As if we needed an excuse to tuck into our favourite sweet treats!
We've rounded up some inspiration to help you create the ultimate cream tea at home – including tips on tea party decor and must-try recipes…
set the scene
Afternoon tea wouldn't be complete without a pretty set of plates! We love this leaf-print pastel set – or how about our Alice in Wonderland-inspired teapot? Whatever you settle on, mark the occasion by dressing up your dining table.
Get the scones right
Whether you want to make them yourself, or go online or pop in store to pick up a pack, scones are a cream tea must-have. Our Extra Special All Butter Clotted Cream Scones are perfectly soft and crumbly – simply warm them up in the oven before serving, if you like. Not got a sweet tooth? Then pick up these melt-in the mouth mature cheddar scones. If you fancy rustling up a batch yourself, we wholeheartedly recommend these wonderful blueberry scones, which are packed full of fruit, lemon curd and mascarpone.
Invest in some tasty preserves
A cream tea is only as good as its preserves. Made using whole strawberries, picked for their superb quality, this Extra Special strawberry jam is like no other. And let's not forget the clotted cream! Prepared in Cornwall, using a traditional method for a rich, buttery flavour, this Extra Special cream is an afternoon tea staple. If you want to have a bash at making jam yourself, check out our sweet, sticky strawberry jam recipe, which makes an impressive 4-6 jars, which can be stored away for up to 12 months. Thrifty AND delicious!
Embrace a theme
Is there a cream tea scene more memorable than that in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? We think not! Should you feel like running with a particular theme, this one's a winner – plus, it's a fantastic excuse to make these adorable heart-shaped jelly tarts…
Don't forget the cakes...
Although scones are most certainly the star of the show, a slice of cake also goes down well with a cup of tea. Food editor Gregor McMaster says, 'Coming from Scotland, we were spoilt for choice when it came to afternoon tea treats. It would normally be a family day out at the weekend, when we’d end up in an old-fashioned Scottish country hotel.
'They would bring out a tiered rack of cakes and scones and it was always such a hard choice. My Grandma made the most amazing scones so, for something different, I’d usually opt for a fondant French fancy. These days I’d be more inclined to go for a coffee cream cake or, if I’m feeling really retro, I might opt for a slice of Battenberg. Here’s a great recipe.'
...or something savoury
While you can't go far wrong with cakes and scones, it's a good idea to throw some savoury options into the mix at your tea party, too. From quiche to open sandwiches, have a few non-sweet bites on standby.