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Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 12:20 UK
Devon cream tea: Devonshire born and bread?

By Jemima Laing
BBC Devon

Cream tea
Mmm tasty! Scone, jam and cream - a cream tea ready to be assembled the Devon way

Mention Yorkshire Puddings, Cheddar Cheese, Worcester Sauce or Plymouth Gin and nobody blinks an eye.

But start talking about cream teas and there's a full-on battle for ownership.

Now, as this is the BBC Devon website, we could be accused of being ever-so-slightly biased.

But for us - the delicious mix of warm fluffy scones, juicy fruit-packed jam and rich, slightly crusty clotted cream - served with a pot of tea - can only mean one thing; it's a mouth-watering, delicious Devon cream tea.

The following is an extract from an article by BBC Devon's Laura Joint which was first published on this site in 2005, but we thought it worth bringing to your attention once again:

Local historians in Tavistock, west Devon, think they've found the answer [to the origin of the cream tea].

They've been studying ancient manuscripts as part of research around the 900th anniversary of the granting of Tavistock's Royal Charter by King Henry I in 1105.

Tavistock in West Devon
Tavistock town centre

After piecing together fragments of manuscripts, they've discovered that the people we have to thank for creating Devon's favourite dish are the monks of Tavistock's Benedictine Abbey.

The Abbey was established in the 10th century, but was plundered and badly damaged by a band of marauding Vikings in 997AD.

It took a lot of hard work to restore the Abbey, and the task was undertaken by Ordulf, Earl of Devon.

His father Ordgar, Earl of Devon, had been responsible for establishing the Abbey in the first place.

Ordulf was helped by local workers, and to reward them, the monks fed them with bread, clotted cream and strawberry preserves. And so, the Devon cream tea was born!

The cream teas were so popular, that the monks continued to serve them to passing travellers.

So, once you've decided where the cream tea originated then you move on to the equally vexed issue of how to eat it.

There are two ways, naturally the Devon and Cornwall methods.

In Devon the idea is to split the scone in two, cover each half with clotted (not whipped) cream, and then add strawberry jam on top.

In Cornwall the scone should first be buttered, strawberry jam added and a helping of clotted cream on top.

But whichever method you plump for, or whichever version of history you choose to believe, one thing is certain - a cream tea takes some beating.

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