The sandwiches and desserts made by the co-op’s deli staff will be small and delicate, to be consumed in one or two bites. The scones are baked in Oxford by Kate Currie, who also delivers them to the co-op on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Americans pronounce “scone” to rhyme with “tone,” whereas the British rhyme “scone” with “mom,” as if spelled “skahn.”
In England, the thick cream typically served with scones is clotted cream, made by heating full-fat milk until clots form. MOON has a local source of the French variation of thick cream called creme fraiche, which is cultivated with bacteria.
The beverage of choice at High Tea is, of course, tea. I was living in London when I started drinking hot caffeinated beverages, and tea became my lifelong choice.
I start the day with a strong mug of black tea brewed with loose tea leaves from MOON Co-op’s bulk food section. I follow the English habit of adding milk or cream to the cup of black tea, though I forgo the sugar.
Among the straightforward unflavored black teas, I find that Darjeeling makes the strongest cup (so is my favorite), Assam the mildest, and Ceylon in between. English Breakfast is typically a blend of Assam and Ceylon.
I make my morning tea in a two-cup teapot. When the kettle whistles, first pour a small amount of boiling water into the teapot to heat it and dispose of that water.
Spoon in one teaspoon of tea leaves per cup, plus one extra for the pot. Cover with boiling water and let steep for 5 minutes.
By the way, we call a spoon a teaspoon because Londoners found it the perfect measure for one cup of tea.
As they say in England, see y’all on Sunday.
Organic fair trade tea is available at MOON Co-op, Oxford’s consumer-owned full-service grocery, featuring natural, local, organic, sustainable, and Earth-friendly products. The store, located at 516 S. Locust St. in Oxford, is open to the public every day.