As an American living in London, I am spoiled for choice with classic European delicacies and delights. Rich Italian espresso, ripe French cheese, authentic Spanish tapas and Europe’s exciting wine treasures are at my finger tips.
Britain itself offers a plethora of hearty, family friendly dishes; Sunday Roast Dinner anyone? Fish and Chips by the seaside? Or the beloved Breakfast of Champions: Full English Fry Up! They are all oddly comforting even for foreigners to indulge in! But in my opinion England’s secret weapon is their sticky, spongy, creamy, crumbly desserts… in fact anything they add a touch of sugar to and serve with tea magically results in a mouth-watering treat!
One of my favourite examples sits somewhere between decadent snack and modest dessert: Cream Tea! If you are not British you are probably imagining adding dollops of cream straight into your tea cup. No that’s not it!
What we’re talking about here are home-made scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, served with a cup of English tea (black tea with milk).
Warm home-made scones (either plain or with fruit) are a perfect canvas for the clotted cream (a rich, smooth, creamy spread). Top it off with a quality (home-made!) strawberry jam and you have a winner! Wash it down with a ‘proper cuppa’ and you will be ready to go in for round two!
The problem with cream tea in London is you’re never quite sure who does it best and where to go! And if it drags into ‘Afternoon tea’ or ‘High tea’ you’re talking about a whole other ball game (and price!) You’d have to set aside most of your afternoon and most of that day’s budget to cover either option.
However, if you’re just after some good old fashioned Cream Tea-between gallery visits or on the go between covering London’s hot spots- the best option is the Braithwaites cream tea van!
Stationed in Camden market in north London (a must for any camera wielding tourist!) you will find a miniature three-wheeled van, beautifully decorated in blue and white Willow just like a little tea cup! Serving at the back of the van you’ll meet Paul, Great Grandson of the company’s name sake Thomas Braithwaite. He serves up freshly baked scones with homemade jam along with a cup of the family’s beloved Ringtons tea.
The story goes that Braithwaite and his wife Laura enjoyed Cornish cream tea so much on a caravan holiday in the South West that they wanted to make it available to all of their friends and neighbours back home – so set about opening their very own tea room… right in their living room!
Now there’s nothing worse than getting sticky jam and cream all over yourself if you’re enjoying a cream tea on the go, but luckily Braithwaites provides immaculate and thoughtful packaging that you can tote around with you on your stroll through London!
If you’re after a classic, delicious British treat while visiting London- this place should be top of your list!
The previous was a guest post by Victoria Daskal.