Clotted cream

Categories: Product of the week

The Wimbledon essential, made the traditional way with rich jersey milk

Image: James Critchlow

Clotted cream. It even sounds delicious—almost onomatopoeic; a thick dollop and a lick at the same time. It is perhaps the most satisfying of creams: certainly, it’s the most decadent, in the very best way—and when it comes to strawberries and Wimbledon, it’s practically mandatory. It begs to be eaten with plump juicy British strawberries, plucked from the punnet and dunked straight in the pot, preferably in a garden, if not on The Hill, with a glass of bubbling prosecco.

For this once-yearly occasion (the tennis—certainly not strawberries and cream) it seems only right and proper to seek out the best of the best: Neal’s Yard Dairy is a good place to start. They get theirs from the Bowles family farm, down in Somerset. “They specialise in jersey milk. They have a small pedigree herd of around 120 cows, and essentially just produce milk, three types of cream, and butter,” says Srdja at Neal’s Yard Dairy.

“The main thing to know about jerseys is, the fat content of the milk is considerably higher than that of your standard black and white holstein-friesian—jersey single cream is the equivalent of usual double, while the double is like set cream you can stand a spoon in.”

Hot off the cow
In the summer, the cows roam the rich west country pastures; during winter they’re fed home grown organic silage. They’re milked twice daily, throughout the year—and as soon as milking begins, the creamery whirrs into action. Once separated from the milk, to make clotted cream the fat is 'cooked’ in the traditional way: gently heated for several hours so the fat globules rise to the surface, then cooled for several more. The cream is then separated from the liquid, potted up and on its way to Neal’s Yard within 24 hours, hot off the cow.

The proof of its superior quality is not just in the sweet, nutty eating: “Normal clotted cream looks anaemic in comparison,” Srdje insists, “this is a really rich, golden yellow colour.” This is proper cream, made the proper way—with properly tasty results.