There are lots of companies selling cream and afternoon tea hampers online as they’re a really popular gift. Companies are usually small hamper specialists, with niches in either afternoon tea gifts or Devon and Cornwall themed gifts. There are also the likes of M&S and Fortune & Masson who list afternoon tea hampers, although usually without scones and cream.
Clotted cream and scones travel time
Both the cream and scones send via post will be best eaten as soon as possible, and usually no later than 5 days from the dispatch. Cream should ideally be kept in the fridge from when the delivery is received and until it’s eaten. Clotted cream will generally be okay when left un-refrigerated for 24-48 hours, but should be sent in insulated packaging, ideally with an ice pack. The cream itself only has a best before date rather than a use by, meaning if it is left outside of the fridge for too long it’s only going to affect the taste rather than cause harm. Scones sent by post need to withstand being bashed around and shouldn’t dry up after a few days.
Devon Heaven – Best overall cream & afternoon tea hampers
Value for Money – All hamper prices include postage and it’s £22.50 for a cream tea with 4 scones, a medium size jam, a large portion of clotted cream, some Devonshire Tea teabags and a gift card with message, all gift wrapped in a wicker basket.
Presentation – Unlike most other competitors almost all their cream teas come in either a wicker basket or lidded hamper, tastefully finished off with ribbon or raffia.
Delivery – They send all cream teas via a next day courier service which can be fully managed and tracked on-line. The buyer even receives a text message with a one hour delivery window. Future delivery dates can easily be selected if the hamper needs to arrive at a particular time.
Quality – All elements are high quality, the scones won a Taste of the West gold in 2015 and travel / keep particularly well, the jam also has a Taste of the West gold and the clotted cream is a very rich Devon cream made with milk from Jersey & Guernsey cows.
English Cream Tea Company – Best full afternoon tea hamper
Value – At £65 for an afternoon tea gift box this is one of the more expensive cream tea gifts but the chilled packaging used and guaranteed AM delivery offered doesn’t come cheap.
Presentation – The afternoon tea is placed in an attractive windowed box and wrapped in thick ribbon. This is then placed in a specially designed chilled outer box covered in the English Cream Tea Company’s branding.
Delivery – Parcels are sent via a next day courier and are all guaranteed by 12.30am. This doesn’t necessary mean orders will arrive the next morning as the afternoon tea hampers need 48 hours prep time.
Quality – Unlike most afternoon tea hampers sent by post theirs includes finger sandwiches that you’d usually expect from an afternoon tea. The scones, cakes and sandwiches are all made with care and attention to detail.
Cornish Hampers – Best Cornish cream tea
Value – Cornish Hampers are very reasonable priced with cream tea gift baskets starting from £15 + £4.95, which includes 4 scones, a medium sized Boddingtons Berries jar of jam, 113g Rodda’s clotted cream and 2 Cornish Tea teabags.
Presentation – Most hampers are all gift wrapped in a wicker basket, with some presented in a seagrass hamper. All hampers include a Cornish Hampers gift card with a lovely picture of Polperro cove
Delivery – Cream and afternoon tea hampers are sent via Royal Mail 24. Although this is usually next day, with a 93% next day success rate it’s not quite as reliable as a courier, nor can it be tracked or managed in an online portal. The next day success rate does however include areas of the UK such as Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and Scottish Highlands that other couriers exclude from their next day service.
Quality – The scones used are more towards the scone split / bread end of the scone spectrum, making them travel well without breaking and good to eat after a few days of baking. The clotted cream had to be Rodda’s, the Cornish producer that sells more clotted cream than anyone else. The strawberry jam from Boddingtons is none as very berry jam for its high fruit content of around 70%.