The Old Forge Restaurant on Dartmoor wins best Afternoon Tea Award October 13, 2015 14:11

The Old Forge in Chagford on Dartmoor

The Old Forge Caffè and Restaurant in Chagford, Dartmoor, has had lots to shout about recently. The Old Forge was judged as having the best cream tea in Devon by independent cream tea reviewer Ditch Townsend, who has tasted over 250 cream teas in the county.

The Old Forge Restaurant - Best Cream Tea in Devon!

In September 15 the Daily Telegraph coined the Dartmoor-based café as "Britain's best cream tea" whilst The Times wrote "the cream of Devon teas". Now the Café Life Awards has crowned the Old Forge Caffè & Restaurant the winner of the Afternoon Tea Experience Challenge sponsored by Tetley Tea. The finals for the competition took place at the ‘Lunch!’ trade show in London and saw the UK's most innovative cafés, bakeries and cookery schools create a bespoke sweet and savoury spread, paired with one of Tetley's range of teas, to provide the ultimate Afternoon Tea Experience. Celebrity chef and café entrepreneur Aldo Zilli was head judge for the competition leading an independent panel of food and drink experts.

Old Forge best afternoon tea in the UKDr Richard Farrington, owner and head chef at The Old Forge since leaving a career in medicine two years ago, said: "The competition today was truly astonishing, and I'm thrilled to be able to take home the prize for my version of a Devonshire Cream Tea - an amazing local speciality that I am incredibly passionate about. To be recognised by the Café Life Awards in this way is a proud achievement and one that I will treasure."

The sandwiches and cakes Richard included in his afternoon tea stand were inspired by the early 1900s, a time period when the cream tea started to become well known to the rest of the country with the expansion of the railways. However, the real fun came with the cream tea element of the afternoon tea. Instead of pairing scones, cream and jam with traditional Earl Grey tea and sliced lemon, Richard made spiced caraway scones (to taste like Victorian seed cake) and served them with homemade Earl Grey-infused clotted cream, lemon curd, and a Red Berry Tetley tea. All the traditional flavours comprising a cream tea are present, but in a rather unusual and highly original form that mad-scientist Heston Blumenthal would be proud of.

The full afternoon tea menu is below:

  • Dainty finger sandwiches (crusts cut off, of course):
    Cucumber on traditional white sourdough bread
    Salmon pâté on seeded bread (including caraway seeds)
  • A chilled glass of homemade lemonade (this could be changed to a glass of champagne for a higher sale price, but Richard prefers the traditional lemonade, whose flavour marries and compliments the other elements of the tea so well).
  • A selection of popular sweet delicacies - here Richard chose shortbread, fruit cake, raspberry tartlets and lemon sponge to best match the other flavours in the afternoon tea.
  • A "Devonshire Cream Tea" with a difference:
    Caraway seed scones (adding the flavour of traditional seed cake) paired with homemade Earl-Grey-infused clotted cream
    Lemon curd (the added lemon to go with the Earl Grey)
    A pot of Tetley Summer Berry Tea

Well done to Richard and the team! We are very proud at Devon Heaven Hampers to sell afternoon and cream tea vouchers for such a highly acclaimed restaurant and café!