There can’t be many foodies who don’t appreciate being given something that can be eaten or drunk. If you’ve also reached that stage in life when you don’t want anything that takes up house-room or needs to be dusted, then food and drink are life-savers in more senses than one. So, when my doorbell rang with a delivery from Delimann of Devon, I was delighted to dash downstairs. The contents would not be expected to last.
‘Open immediately, enjoy at your leisure” the box proclaimed. And open it immediately everyone must do as the pot of Devonshire clotted cream should go straight into the fridge where it will last for up to a month – if you can wait. Which I found wasn’t possible.
‘The scones are oversized, you might want to share” I had been warned. Try me, I thought. If I really couldn’t manage them on my own in one sitting I would keep one overnight and, if I still couldn’t cope, I could call in help later. Which I found wasn’t necessary.
‘Dollop it on!”, proclaimed the message on the pot of cream. Which I found was essential.
Everything about this cream tea met my needs, from the environmentally sound packaging (containing enough recyclable wood wool to keep the contents in place) to the fact that there was slightly too much clotted cream even for cream-guzzling me to pile high on each of the four large halves. That was definitely a first (whether in country cafés or five-star hotels, I’ve always asked for more cream and, often, even more).
The scones were, indeed, generously large; plain with no fruit (as I prefer them); crumbly and light – baked the day of despatch. Strawberry extra jam (a 12oz jar, made by Highfield Preserves of Tiverton in Devon) was thick with whole baby strawberries, reminding me of Tiptree’s Little Scarlet jam with added countryside (a paper hat decorating the lid) and providing a warm glow from knowing it was made in small batches. A packet of Devonshire tea (ok, so the tea isn’t from Devon – it’s from Kenya, but blended and packed here) provided the last essential ingredient to transport me to the sunny south west.
Enough, you would have thought. No. The Delimann box contained a rich fruit cake, too. Not even I could eat that immediately after, or before, tackling a scone. Later, when I felt a pang of, er, greed, I cut off a thick slice – and very good it was: gently rich and not too sweet with a satisfying ratio of fruit to cake making it substantial but not weightily sticky.
Of course, we could all go out to buy the ingredients round the corner. Some of us might even make the scones and spread them with home-made strawberry jam. But I experienced huge pleasure in taking delivery of a perfectly-presented package that was filled with generosity and thoughtfulness. It has become my first choice birthday present for all those with whom I exchange gifts. Including myself.
The only debate is whether you agree with the Devonians – that the jam goes on top of the cream – or with the Cornish (and me) that it goes underneath (enabling me to dollop on much more than I care to admit …).
If a Devonshire cream tea is not your thing, the Delimann range includes a coffee alternative, a ploughman’s lunch (two oversized cheese scones, two jars of chutney, a bottle of Luscombe Organic cider and a packe to Burt’s crisps), irresistible hampers, deli-treats including award-winning figgy bonbons (chocolate coated, brandy truffle-filled figs) and a celebration candlelit supper for two.