Jam or cream first? The great British scone debate put to the test


It’s the hot debate that has had the nation talking this week. Not Starmer vs Sunak – but is it jam or cream-first on your scone?

Despite attempts to settle the question over centuries, Britain remains as bitterly divided on the matter as ever.

Do you, as in the traditional Cornish method, dollop jam first? Or slather a thick base layer of clotted cream in true Devonshire style?

Or perhaps you, like one of our Daily Express colleagues, are a jam purist and eschew cream altogether.

A survey this week, by Cornish clotted cream brand Rodda’s, found 44% of us opt for jam first, while 32% argue clotted cream is the obvious foundation.

Naturally, the findings sparked fierce discussion in our newsroom so we decided to put it to our readership.

Sorry Devon, but the result was unassailable. An overwhelming 74% of Express.co.uk readers voted for the Cornish tradition of jam first.

But in the pursuit of fairness, and to mark National Cream Tea Day today, here are both sides of the argument.

Jam-first, says Frances Millar.

Jam has always been first for me. It’s less of a preference and more of an instinct.

I am in very good company. Apparently Buckingham Palace scones are served jam-first and Queen of Cakes Mary Berry agrees.

My method is pretty standard – two big spoons of strawberry jam; smear to the edge; a hefty splat of clotted cream right in the centre; eat.

But whatever your chosen order of toppings, eat your scone however you fancy – as long as you pronounce it scone to rhyme with gone, not scone to rhyme with stone.

That is not up for debate.

Cream-first, says Sam Stevenson.

We say “the cherry on top” for a reason. Everyone knows tasty jam is the best part of any cream tea.

So why not give it pride of place on the top of a freshly-baked scone?

It makes so much more sense to spread the cream before the jam.

This way, it serves like butter and provides a soft cushion-like layer between the baked snack and its sweeter topping.

The cream should be evenly distributed on the bottom layer, not simply dolloped.

Call me a maverick, as our online poll would suggest, but it’s the Devon method for me.

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