Cream Tea at The Horn of Plenty Hotel


Guest blogger, Ditch Townsend, tastes the opulence in central Devon

Overlooking the Tamar valley from on high, and west into Cornwall, this small food-focused hotel offers you the use of the lawn for your helicopter (I declined, since I live within driving distance). It has sumptuous gardens, which naturally I took to, to take afternoon tea in the sun. Inside offered a small, purplish and comfortable upstairs library, or a more muted grey, pastel pink and purple downstairs lounge to take tea, should you get too hot, wet, or cold outside.

Two warm scones made their way to my table on a slate. Glazed on top, darkly brown all over, they had a lovely crunchy, but quite thin and slightly crumbly, crust – much like a good pork pie before the grease sets in. Like tree bark, an abrupt transition was encountered, to a yellowing, light, bready-biscuit texture. Neither scone component was sweet, nor could I pick out a strong flavour, but I enjoyed half a scone completely bare.

Three large rolls of Devon clotted cream were also on the slate, though in their own small bowl – probably straight from a hot dishwasher because the lowest parts were melted, but no further melting happened even in full sun. It was the texture and stiffness of cold margarine, quite pale but still a little yellow, and quite mild-tasting.

I asked for an alternative to strawberry jam if it was from the same supplier, and was rewarded with plenty of non-jelloid raspberry; tasty although from a large commercial maker.

Having been offered a choice of tea, I picked Earl Grey. Disappointingly, it arrived in a pot with bags. Furthermore, the bags were not fresh enough to release much flavour without spending ages stewing.

For £9.50, I wouldn’t fly in by helicopter just for this, but if you are nearby and happy to splash out, I think you are very likely to have an okay time.

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)

4 Slated for enjoyment

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