Visit Cornwall in San Jose with a Cornish cream tea!

Cornish cream tea. GNU Free Documentation.

Visit Victorian England with a Cornish cream tea at Satori Tea Bar, and Lyric Theatre of San Jose’s Pirates of Penzance, which opened March 24 at the Montgomery Theatre! The town of Penzance, in the southwest corner of England, is known for its harbor, seafaring and mining history, and its mild coastal climate. In 1879, when Gilbert and Sullivan wrote Pirates of Penzance, a comedic operetta, the town was a peaceful beach resort, and the idea of buccaneers attacking was amusing. Located in Cornwall, the town is also associated with the Cornish Cream Tea, a particular style of afternoon tea. A Cornish cream tea includes a scone or Cornish split, with clotted cream, strawberry jam, and a pot of black tea. According to the BBC,

“A good cream tea will include two healthy-sized scones, which should be split horizontally before applying the jam and cream. … The jam should be applied to the scone in ‘dollops’ (ie, large spoonfuls). … It is essential that the cream in a cream tea is clotted cream. … As with the jam, cream should be piled high on the scone, bearing in mind only that which can comfortably fit into one’s mouth.”

People in Cornwall and Devon are very particular about they way a cream tea should be; not only is there dispute about whether or not to have a scone or a split with the cream and jam, but there is also passionate disagreement over how apply the cream and jam to the scone or split. Traditionally, there are two styles of eating a scone covered in jam and cream: the Cornish, which involves putting the jam on before the cream, and the Devonian, which is the opposite, spreading the cream on the half scone and then topping it with the jam. The Devon method has the benefit of softening the dry scone with cream before nestling a dollop of red jam on top, and the Cornish method keeps the jam from sliding off the cream by “sandwiching” it between between the scone and cream. In San Jose, either method is equally correct and equally delicious.

Lyric Theatre's _Pirates of Penzance_ logo.

Traditional Cornish foods include the Cornish pasty (beef and vegetable pie), Cornish splits (sweet yeast roll), scones, saffron cakes, Welsh cakes, Cornish fairings (like ginger snaps), and clotted cream, which San Jose tea-lovers can add to their tea table. Satori Tea Bar in San Pedro Square offers a Cornish cream tea, and an a la carte menu, that contains several of these items for you to enjoy before you see the show. The Montgomery Theatre is on Market St. near the San Jose Civic Center; the show runs Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through April 1st, and Thursday and Friday of next week at 8 p.m. Tickets run around $30 for general admission, and $12 for youth. So whether you adhere to the Devonian or the Cornish method of eating your scone, why not put together your own cream tea and then see the Pirates of Penzance at the Montgomery? A Cornish Cream Tea will add a lot of luxury and enjoyment to your evening, for a modest price.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
“Cornish Cream Tea” from the Cornwall by Cornishlight website
“The Cornish Cream Tea” from The Cornwall Guide
“Vital information” from the Rodda’s Cornish Clotted Cream website
“101 uses and excuses for Cornish Clotted Cream” from the Rodda’s website
“How do you take your cream tea?”
“Cream Tea” article from the BBC
“Penzance” article from Wikipedia
“It’s scone wrong” from the Word of Mouth blog
“Proper Cornish Scones” Recipe from the Rodda’s website
“Cornish Splits” recipe from AllRecipes
“Easy Clotted Cream” recipe from AllRecipes
“Tea tasting 101: characteristics of a good-quality black tea”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“San Jose’s newest tea shop: Satori Tea Bar”
“Review: Buccaneer blend from SerendipiTea”
“Review: afternoon tea at Satori Tea Bar”
“Tea plays a major role in Lyric Theatre of San Jose’s The Sorcerer
“San Jose’s British population celebrates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with tea”
Lyric Theatre of San Jose web page
Lyric Theatre Pirates of Penzance performance page
Lyric Theatre Pirates of Penzance event page on Facebook
Lyric Theatre Pirates of Penzance ticket page

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