Tea and Scones
The art of pairing.
Americans have adopted fish-and-chips, the Beatles, and a pint at the pub, but one British favorite that hasn’t caught on - but should - is afternoon tea. Think about it: By 3 or 4 o’clock, everyone could use a break and a little pick-me-up. But sometimes it may feel like it’s too late for coffee, and there are still hours to dinner. So why not do as the English do and relax with a tea and scone?
Your local Panera Bread bakery-cafe offers an assortment of fresh scones and gourmet teas. You can settle into a booth, or you can order them to go and break out the silver and fine china at home.
Traditional scones are made with butter. But head baker Tom Gumpel substitutes cream in most of his versions, resulting in a scone that’s rich but remarkably light. And as you’ll see, he also includes some decidedly American ingredients.
Here are his suggested afternoon-tea pairings for enjoying his creations:
The Scone: Orange
The Tea: Ginger Peach
Why They’re Perfect Together: This scone has bits of orange in the icing, which means it’s both refreshing and luscious. “Pairing it with Ginger Peach tea brings out its citrus notes even more,” says Tom. Plus, the warmth of the tea melts the icing in your mouth.
Bonus Tip! Don’t put any butter or jam on this scone. It can stand alone.
The Scone: Wild Blueberry
The Tea: Earl Greyer
Why They’re Perfect Together: This scone is studded with blueberries from Maine and southern Canada. In order not to mask their fresh flavor, Tom recommends an Earl Greyer tea pairing. “The citrusy simplicity of the bergamot oil in the tea is a perfect companion to the blueberries.”
Bonus Tip! Tom also suggests having this scone for breakfast with a Light Roast coffee. Once again, he doesn’t put anything on it - or in the coffee. “The scone already has the cream and sugar in it.”
The Scone: Cinnamon Chip
The Tea: British Breakfast
Why They’re Perfect Together: This is the only Panera Bread scone made with butter rather than cream, so it’s a bit denser. It also contains fine Korintje cinnamon chips, which impart a rich, earthy flavor that’s made to savor. Tom likes to pair it with British Breakfast, a traditional black tea, to which he adds a spot of milk.
Bonus Tip! This scone also pairs well with Hazelnut coffee.