THE ETIQUETTE OF SCONES

tier platter of scones

The pronunciation of the word within the English-speaking world varies, with some pronouncing it /skɒn/ (rhymes with “gone”), and others /skoʊn/ (rhymes with “tone”).The dominant pronunciation differs by region and both are perfectly correct.  Don’t let some pompous know-it-all try to tell you otherwise!! 

Scones are traditionally connected with the British Isles, but exactly which country deserves the honor of invention, no one knows for sure. They may well have originated in Scotland as the first known print reference, in 1513, is from a Scottish poet.

Originally, scones were made with oats, shaped into a large round, scored into four or six wedges and griddle-baked over an open fire (later, a stovetop). With the advent of oven baking, the dough was cut into wedges or small rounds and the scones were baked individually.

(We sell an oat-based scone mix.  https://larkintea.com/product/oat-scone-mix/)

HOW TO SERVE SCONES

Scones really are a must for afternoon tea. 

When serving afternoon tea on a three-tier cake stand, the scones are placed on the second tier.  The sandwiches and small savories are placed on the bottom tier and are eaten first, followed by the scone course and finally the top tier contains the dainty tea breads, cookies and cakes which make up the final course. 

One of the rules of serving scones is that they should be whole, rather than already cut in two, and certainly not previously spread with cream and jam. The reason for this is that it keeps the scones fresher and gives people the option of spreading them with whatever they prefer.

Traditionally scones with added fruit are served with butter only; plain scones with butter and jam or cream and jam.  Clotted cream and lemon curd are never served together. These days, people do spread jams on the fruited scones, but it is a good idea to use a jam that complements the fruit. 

HOW TO EAT SCONES

If you’re at an afternoon or a cream tea, there should be serving containers filled with clotted cream, preserves/jams and lemon curd on the table. These serving containers are for everyone at the table, so no dipping your own knife into them, or even worse, dipping your scone directly into the container. Instead, use the spoons provided (usually sitting right next to the bowls) to scoop out small amounts onto your plate. Place the spoons back as they don’t belong on your plate. You don’t want to cross-contaminated so use a different spoon for each condiment. (Feel free to get a second serving if you’ve finished what’s on your plate.)

a plate of scones

Now you’ve got your jam and clotted cream on your plate it is time to eat the scone.

The best method is to cut the scone into bite-sized pieces using the knife. Slice it in half vertically then cut that into half so you’re only preparing a quarter of the scone at a time.

Now, you can use your knife to slather on the jam and cream to your small bite-sized pieces of scone. (Don’t pre-slice the scones but cut off pieces as you go and then spread the jam and cream on each piece.)

  • Absolutely DO NOT make a scone sandwich by putting the two halves together with the cream and jam in the middle.
  • Scones are meant to be eaten with your fingers, not a fork.
  • Scones are best when they’re served at room temperature. Try to make them the morning of your event.   
  • Traditional scones at afternoon teas are the round, not triangular.
  • If more than one scone is available per person, only take one scone at a time!

There are a number of scone recipes to be found on our web site. https://larkintea.com/recipes/