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The St. Andrews Scone Showdown

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I have a confession. I am a clotted cream addict. Like genuinely a “can eat straight out of the jar like it’s a pint of ice cream” addict. So I had an idea: what better way to justify eating mounds of clotted cream than by writing an intellectual article for a magazine about it? But I’m going to be completely honest, although I have disguised this as the “St Andrews Scone Showdown”, this is really just a means of fueling my addiction. I’m getting help soon I promise.

Here are the rules. In order to conduct the ultimate St Andrews Scone Showdown and see which St Andrews’ scone with clotted cream combination reigns supreme, my friend and I will be procrastinating on our essay-writing and visiting six iconic cafes around town: Gorgeous, Cottage Kitchen, Northpoint, Zest, and Mitchells. For consistency’s sake, and also because I have a love-hate relationship with raisins, we’ll be getting the same order at each cafe: plain scone, clotted cream, and jam. The rating scale will be out of 10 raisins, and I shall be listing them below from worst to best. Let’s begin.page2image21674208

From left to right: Cottage Kitchen, Zest, Gorgeous, Mitchells

#5: Disqualified: Northpoint.​ I tried to go three different times. The first two times they didn’t have scones and the third time, the queue was half an hour long, it was raining, and I was crabby. If by chance I get a Northpoint scone in the coming weeks, I shall add it accordingly to the list but for now….disqualified. ​Rating: 0/10 raisins (for now).

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#4: Zest.​ This one tasted more bread roll than a scone, so much so in fact that my friend was confident they’d mistakenly given us plain bread. It was generally pretty doughy and didn’t really have a texture to it besides just “soft.” It was also at Zest that I came to the sad realization that not all cafes provide takeaway clotted cream. Clotted cream from Cottage Kitchen was used instead and not factored into the final rating. ​Rating: 4/10 raisins.

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#3: Gorgeous.​ Considering Northpoint is thought of to be the ​ultimate​ scone place, both my friend and I were pretty disappointed with it. The outside was nice and crunchy but the inside was a bit dense, dry, and powdery. However, points must be awarded for its absolutely gigantic size, and the fact that they did have take-away clotted cream (although it tasted less like cream and quite a bit like butter). Props do go to Gorgeous though for having creative flavours such as cheese and chive, white chocolate, and Prince of Cambridge. ​Rating: 5.5/10 raisins.

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#2: Mitchells. ​Right off the bat, an extra point must be awarded for the fact that the scone was fresh out of the oven and still warm when I ate it. The scone itself was a bit bitter but the outside was nice and crunchy and the inside was pretty fluffy. No take-away clotted cream was provided (even though I literally begged). However, Mitchells had, by far, the best raspberry jam. ​Rating: 7.5/10 raisins

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#1: Cottage Kitchen. ​Cottage Kitchen blew the rest of its competitors out of the water. We made the mistake of eating this scone first, which is probably why I’ve judged the rest so harshly. But it was just so, so good. The outside of the scone was super crunchy and had a nice shiny glaze to it, and the inside was perfectly fluffy and not too dry. The scone itself was also much sweeter than the rest. Extra props go to Cottage Kitchen for being the only place to provide us with both homemade clotted cream and jam, both of which were delicious. ​Rating: 9/10 raisins.

So there you have it friends. The ultimate St Andrews Scone Showdown’s guide to your best and slightly worse (but still decent) scones around town. What did we learn? Firstly, if you’re craving a scone, Cottage Kitchen is the place to be. Second, if you’re a clotted cream fiend like me, not all places will give you clotted cream unless you’re sitting in. And lastly (and this is important): even when split between two people, 4 scones in one afternoon is not recommended. Your soul may thank you, but your stomach will not.

Have a scone recommendation for me to try next? Send it to me and I’ll add it to the list! And finally, because I did say this was going to be an “intellectual article,” here are some educational scone facts for you to enjoy:

  1. The scone actually originated in Scotland and originates from a Scottish cake called the “bannock,” which was made using thin, round squares of oats and wheat flour and baked over an open fire.
  2. What’s the difference between American and British scones? British scones are typically served with butter and cream while American scones (or “biscuits”) are often served with savoury meat and vegetable dishes!
  3. Scones were popularised by Anna, Duchess of Bedford, who was said to eat them every day with her afternoon tea. According to her, the correct time to eat a scone was precisely 4:00 pm.

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