Now, now, we all know the age-old questions surrounding these buttery Scottish baked goods. Originated in the early 1500s, these round, plate-sized, griddle baked Scottish quick bread used to be made with oat. Rumour has it that the word “scone” was derived from the Stone of Destiny, where Scottish kings were crowned. Then in the 18th century, it was Anna, the Duchess of Bedford who made scones a fashionable afternoon tea tradition when she ordered some sweet bread and grew fond of it ever since. With a wider selection of ingredients aside from flour and butter available nowadays, you can expect to try some curious flavours. For those who love a good classic scone—or “scon”—it’s always a battle between clotted cream or jam first. Tatler’s resident scone enthusiast, deputy editor Lauren James of Birmingham, says she’ll have hers always with jam first. But she warns, “anyone who gets worked up about that is silly”.
However you take your scones, here are ten of our current favourites.
1. Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
For those who love classic desserts and pastries, the five-star hotel’s cake shop is a no-brainer. Since its opening in the 1970s, it has been dominating the sweet world with its 1963 Mandarin cheesecake, chocolate truffle cake and, needless to mention, classic scones which come in two flavours – butter and raisin. Their scones, each bigger than my fist, are probably one of the largest you’ll find in town. But fear not if you have a small appetite. There’s a reason why they remain popular throughout the decades. The buttery scones aren’t greasy and not too crumbly – just right for elegant enjoyment. Led by executive pastry chef Christophe Sapy who has served Thailand’s royal family, Mandarin Oriental creates their own rose petal jam; the recipe for which is a closely guarded secret. The dark red puree has a hint of sour berry but, unlike regular berry jams however, it’s less sweet and fruity, which pairs well with their light clotted cream and rich scones for a less filling cream tea.
Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central, Hong Kong; hongkong.mandarinorientalshop.com