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Is it time for Afternoon Tea yet?

1. What is builder’s tea?

Some kinds of teas and the way they are drunk are often associated with men, and some with women. For example, working-class men in Britain prefer their tea strong, with milk and lots of sugar drunk in sturdy mugs known as Builder’s tea, while ladies meeting for afternoon tea at the Ritz in London may prefer a lighter tea such as Darjeeling, served in delicate porcelain cups and saucers.

If you live in Scotland you will probably hear it pronounced in a way that rhymes with “gone”, whereas if you live in Ireland you’re far more likely to hear it pronounced it so it rhymes with “cone.” And in England and Wales, it is slightly more complicated. But if you pronounce it so it rhymes with 'con' you will not go wrong.

A map showing the ways scone is pronounced in the UK
3. Origin of the scone

The scone originated from Scotland, and the word is thought to have derived from the Dutch schoonbrot, or ‘fine, white bread’.
These quick-to-make treats date from the 1500s and were mainly made from oats. They were round and flat and cooked on a griddle rather than in the oven.

4. Is it jam or cream first, scones delight!

The answer lies in whether you are  Cornish or Devonian.  If you visit the South-west part of England, you will see advertised Devonshire cream tea and Cornish cream tea. Cornish people believe that the jam should go on first and nothing else will do. They argue that, if the scone is warm, the jam will act as a kid of barrier and prevent the cream from melting. Also they love to show-off their cream -  the crowning glory of the scone. Devonians believe on the other hand that the cream should be put on the scone first - just as you would always put butter on your toast first, this holds true with cream on a scone. They also say that it’s easier to spread the jam on top of the cream than it is the other way round. It is unfortunately rare to find real clotted cream outside of the British Isles. In the UK, one of the most well-known manufacturers is Rodda’s, who have been making authentic clotted cream in Cornwall since 1890.


5. Scones, how to make them more delicious: the most popular jams for scones

The most delicious scones are spread with one of the following jams:


6. What teas are drunk more in the Winter?

In winter, teas such as Assam is drunk known for its rich pungent flavour and can be served with warming foods such as cinnamon toast, hot buttered crumpets and rich fruit cakes round the fireside is optimal; in the summer, delicate Earl Grey or the golden taste of Ceylon accompanied with cucumber sandwiches and scones with strawberries and cream are ideal.

3-tier srand and cheese scone


225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp baking powder
55g chilled butter, cut into cubes
120g mature cheddar, grated
90-100ml milk, plus 1 tbsp for glazing


Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 with a large baking tray inside. Sift the flour, salt, cayenne pepper and baking powder into a bowl, then sift again to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.


Add the butter to the bowl and combine with your fingertips to make breadcrumbs. Sprinkle 100g of the cheese into the breadcrumb mixture and rub together until evenly distributed. Try not to mix too much as the heat from your hands may start to melt the butter.


Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in enough milk to give a fairly soft but firm dough. Do not pour in all the milk at once as you may not need it all to get the right consistency.


Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough to approximately 2cm thick. Cut out the scones with a medium (about 8cm) cutter, then put on a sheet of baking parchment, glaze with a little milk and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Slide onto the hot oven tray.


Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins or until golden brown and cooked through.

Recipe: BBC Good Food

Anne Russell portrait having a cup of tea_edited.png
7. Who invented the sandwich and why?

It is widely believed that the sandwich was invented by the 4th Earl of Sandwich - John Montague. A gambler, his gaming sessions often lasted 24 hours or more. One night in 1762, despite the violent rumbling from his stomach, he had such a good hand that he could not bear to leave the table. He therefore asked his valet to bring him some meat and cheese but found that his hands would become too messy, ruining his game. He then had the clever idea to put the food between two slices of bread so his hands would remain dry and clean. And the rest is history...
“I’ll have the same as Sandwich” was heard to follow.


The Earl of Sandwich
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