A celebration of the cream tea in Tavistock saw customers treated to a range of new flavours.

Tavistock Cream Tea Week, coinciding with national Cream Tea Day today (Friday), marks the town’s status as the birthplace of the cream tea and bakers excelled themselves by serving up flavours to tickle the tastebuds, including coconut and lime, coronation spiced and savoury delights such as sun-dried tomato and olive.

The event, organised by Tavistock Business Improvement District (BID) and Tavistock and District Chamber of Commerce (TDCC) saw 12 businesses inventing new and inspired cream tea recipes for visitors to try. 

BID pitted bakers against each other to stimulate imaginations and skills by staging a competition for the best and most innovative cream tea and scone.

VIP judge for the event was town mayor Cllr Andy Hutton who said:‘There are many pleasures in being the mayor, but this ‘onerous’ undertaking must have been one of the best. For three hours the mayoress and I visited some of the best eateries in Tavistock, sampling 12 different scones. It was so difficult as there were so many wonderful creations but, after scoring them all, we chose some winners. 

‘All the ones we chosen were new recipes, all were great, but some were magnificent. I can tell you as mayor, I did this on behalf of the people of Tavistock, but what a privilege.’

The best scone was won by King St Bakery with Lemon, Blueberry & Poppy Seed.

Best new cream tea was won by Coffee & Cream with its coconut and lime scone served with pineapple jam & cream.

The Most Innovative Idea was won by Oggy Oggy’s Coronation Spiced Scone served with mango chutney & mint yoghurt.

The Champion of Champion Mayor’s Award went to Church Lane for its ‘Ode to Pizza Cream Tea’ a sun-dried tomato, olive & parmesan cheese scone topped with mascarpone & basil cream, sweet tomato jam and a parmesan crisp. The mayor found said this was ‘outstanding in taste, presentation and originality.’

The Best Scone runner-up was Eastgate Brasserie for its Feta & Sun-dried Tomato and the Most Innovative Idea runner-up was The Original Pasty House for its Pasty Scone

Highly Commended were Café Liaison for a Morello Cherry Scone with Cherry Jam, Carters Deli for a Black Forest Chocolate Scone with Cherry Jam, Flapjackery for a Cream Tea Flapjack, Karen’s Café for its Almond & Apricot Scone served with apricot jam, Lemon Grove with a Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Scone served with cream cheese, Mime cafe's Chilli & Cheese Scone served with Chilli Jam & North Devon Cheddar plus strawberry, basil & vanilla served with jam and cream and finally, Taylors’ Lemon Scone served with lemon curd, cream and meringue.

Kenny Lake, of Oggy Oggy, said: 'My idea was to do something completely different, being savoury and spicy. So, my Coronation Spiced Scone has cumin, cinnamon and curry powder with mint and yoghurt dressing as the 'cream' and mango chutney as the 'jam'. It certainly stirred up interest and pleased the judges. This sort of event helps the hospitality sector which has been especially hard by rising costs. It's really good to see the council supporting local businesses.'

Kenny Lake of Oggy Oggy with his competition scones
Kenny Lake of Oggy Oggy with his competition scones (Guy Boswell/Tindle)

Lynda Wallace, owner of Coffee & Cream, said: 'I'm really pleased to win the best cream tea. I devised the flavour combinations with lemon and coconut and lime and the recipe and tested it on family and staff. They've sold really well and customers are full of praise.'

Coffee & Cream Lynda Wallace and Neil Stout - Tavistock Cream Tea Week
Coffee & Cream's Lynda Wallace samples her winning cream tea with Big Issue man Neil Stout during Tavistock Cream Tea Week (tindle)

Anthony Dwelly, joint owner of King Street Bakery, said: 'Justine Tugwell, our shop assistant, suggested the flavours of our lemon, poppy seed and blueberry, then handed over to me and said 'you're the baker, get baking! So I did and we';re really happy to have won against such great competition. They sold out, so that's a vote of confidence.'

Janna Sanders, BID manager, said: ‘The event was inspired by discussions between Tim Randell, chairman of TDCC and Tavistock BID about the need to devise a new cream tea festival for the town based on the history of the first ‘cream teas’ served over 1,000 years ago by the monks of Tavistock Abbey.’

It is said that when the Benedictine Abbey was being rebuilt after being plundered and badly damaged by a horde of marauding Vikings in 997AD, the monks were so grateful to local workers that they rewarded them with bread and ‘clowted cream’. Apparently, this proved so popular the monks continued to serve them as a treat to passing travellers.

Tim, TDCC chairman, said: ‘This was a fantastic event and shows the creativity and imagination of our wonderful businesses. We’ve always had an ambition to have a large celebration of the cream tea in Tavistock as its birthplace. It’s been a successful event and shows how our businesses are working together for the town. There’s no reason why we can’t stage it again, we definitely have big ambitions over this most famous of dishes.’