Guest blogger, Ditch Townsend, tastes the opulence in central Devon
WH Smith bought the land on which his son built Bovey Castle in 1907. A luxuriantly lush hotel now, its granite-ballustraded rear terraces look out over part of their golf course, woodland, farm land on the hillside opposite, and even some moorland on its top. For less pleasant weather, the large, beautifully appointed dining room is available. On arrival, and make sure you’ve booked as the venue is a very popular site for afternoon tea, your car may well be handled by a valet. I was found a lovely site on the terrace, and settled down to wait for my cream tea.
Very freshly made and warm scones soon arrived, tall but small, one with raisins, one without; both sugar-dusted. Inside was a dense, soft, sweet, bready-biscuity mix. Outside they were swathed in very thin and crispy brown crust, almost as if they’d been buttered and lightly grilled all around; delightful anyway.
A locally made, quite tasty, homogeneously mixed strawberry jam was provided: I could have had something else, commercially produced, but I coped without (I always like a choice and hardly ever relish strawberry jam).
The cream was locally produced – very firm, like cold butter, despite the hot sun on it. Lightly yellowed, it had very little taste, but what it had was the gentle smokiness which I love and hardly ever stumble across.
As for the tea… A glorious choice of loose leafs; mine was an unusual Assam massala chai – rewardingly complex, and as suggested, best without milk (I know, I experimented for my readers’ benefit).
All round, a luxurious afternoon. What else would you expect for £17.00? (Just try not to get stuck with tedious table talk alongside!)
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. Like this one, he hopes to offer us occasional reviews about his ‘high-end’ cream tea peregrinations 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 (13 July 2015)