Cotleigh tearoom’s scones wow Devon Life judges

PUBLISHED: 11:30 12 June 2016

Winner: Julia Williams of Royal Oak Farm, in Cotleigh.

Winner: Julia Williams of Royal Oak Farm, in Cotleigh.

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Julia Williams, of the Royal Oak Farm tearooms at Cotleigh, near Honiton, took the top honours at the contest finals at East Devon’s Froginwell Vineyard.

Scones made to a recipe passed down through three generations have been named the county’s best in the professional class of Devon Life’s Devon’s Best Scone Competition.

Julia Williams, of the Royal Oak Farm tearooms at Cotleigh, near Honiton, took the top honours at the contest finals at East Devon’s Froginwell Vineyard.

In the competition’s amateur category, former Royal Marines commando David Evans was the winner.

His scones are made to a Delia Smith recipe and cooked in an Aga at his Dartmoor home.

The finals saw the winners of the first round heats present three scones to be tasted by the judging panel of BBC Radio Devon breakfast show host Simon Bates, Devon Life editor Andy Cooper and the county’s cream tea guru Ditch Townsend of devoncreamteas.info

Kate Jenkins, of Froginwell Vineyard, who came up with the idea for the competition, supplied clotted cream and jam to aid the judging process. Scones were tasted blind and the winning bakers revealed only after the scores were in.

Julie said: “Our scones recipe – a family secret - originates from approximately 150 years ago when my grandmother was cook at a big house similar to Downton Abbey. The recipe then became my mother’s, who has now reached the ripe old age of 101. She used to make all our scones at Royal Oak, until she retired from work at 96. Now, of course, it’s mine.”

While Julia will not be sharing her successful recipe, she has this advice for scone bakers: “Always use the best quality fresh ingredients of everything. Never use a cheaper brand. Never roll out the mixture too thin and don’t over work the dough - keep as much air in it as possible.”

At Royal Oak Farm, they make their own jams using their own fruit and present their cream teas using fine bone china.

Julia said: “In the tearoom, we use old-fashioned linen/lace table clothes and we have been doing all this for the past 30 years. In fact, my mother-in-law from Sidmouth purchased all our tea sets to start us off all those years ago and came up every afternoon to serve the teas for the first few years.”

Royal Oak Farm has achieved several awards and was recently on BBC TV programme, A Taste of Britain and in This England Magazine.


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