Guest blogger, Ditch Townsend, takes tea for us on Dartmoor
On the site of a 15th century house, the current mansion was rebuilt in 1787 after being destroyed in the English Civil War. ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ was allegedly inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stay here. Being outside offers a stunning view (it can often be glimpsed through the windows), and the drawing room, with its wood burner, is comfortably and pleasingly, if eclectically, furnished.
The scone was cooked to order, so it took 10-15 minutes to come; an acrid oven cleaner-type smell kept intruding into the parlour, which was unpleasant. Anyway, I had enough time to explore my loose leaf Earl Grey tea choice, which arrived a few minutes after ordering: The bergamot oil only made the vaguest of ghostly swirls on the surface, with hints of orange blossom as it evaporated; I didn’t expect too much citrus and was justified when I sipped it. But it had a good flavour, with quite clear smokey traits. Plenty was supplied, with extra water, but without a removable in-pot filter, it stewed a little harshly.
Back to the largish, sugar-dusted scone which had now arrived. It was warm, obviously, with a glaze, and flexible but friable crust. The inside was a very pale yellow, somewhat like dense cake, but soft and not heavy or stodgy. It was also soothingly fragrant and flavoured.
The Cornish cream came firm, as I like it, and in a reasonable volume, but cold and with a very mild taste that was only really accessible on its own.
The locally produced strawberry jam was all that was available. Be that as it may, it actually tasted strongly of strawberry rather than sugar, and wasn’t over-pectinated.
In conclusion, a single scone doesn’t comprise the base for the largest (nor even the norm) of Devon cream teas, but this was still a very pleasant session. It will cost you £8.00 to repeat.
You can follow Ditch’s blog about his anonymous, self-funded, ‘mid-range’ cream tea exploits via www.devoncreamteas.info and be kept up-to-date on Twitter @DevonCreamTease. He hopes to offer us occasional reviews about his ‘high-end’ cream tea peregrinations here at Eating Exeter, so keep a look out. (NB: The ones here are complimentary, but neither paid for, nor edited by the venue.)
© Text and pictures by Ditch Townsend (6 June 2015)