Note: This post was originally published in July 2012 and has been updated with new content and photos.
Is there a proper way to eat a scone? Why yes, yes there is.
If you’re at an afternoon or a cream tea service, on the table should be little serving containers filled with clotted cream and preserves. These little pots are for the table, so no dipping your own knife into them, or even worse, dipping your scone directly into the container. Instead, use the spoons provided (usually sitting right next to the little bowls) to scoop out small portions onto your plate. Place the spoons back as they don’t belong on your plate. Try not to cross-contaminate and use a different spoon for each condiment.
Feel free to go in for a second serving of jam and cream if you’ve finished what’s on your plate.
If you’re getting ready to grab a knife to cut the scone — STOP! Never, ever cut a scone with a knife. You can either break it apart horizontally first (left), or break off small bite sized pieces (right) with your hands. It mostly depends on how big the scone is — if it’s fairly big, break it off horizontally first before break it apart again to make it bite-sized.
Now, you can use your knife to slather on the jam and cream to your small bite-sized pieces of scone. (Don’t pre-break the scones but take off pieces as you go and spread the jam and cream on each piece.)
Here is where the controversy comes in. Some people swear by jam first, then topped with cream (Cornish-style) and others, cream and then jam (Devon-style). Me? I like cream first, then jam.
Another no-no is making a scone sandwich by putting the two halves together with the cream and jam in the middle. Shudder.
Scones are meant to be eaten with your fingers, not a fork. Actually, there really isn’t a use for a fork during the entire afternoon tea service. It’s strictly a knife and spoon affair.
The Basics of Eating a Scone Properly
 Scoop out clotted cream and jams onto your plate. Enough for one scone.
 Break apart a small bite-sized portion of scone with your hands — NEVER with a knife.
 Use a knife to slather on cream and jam onto the piece of scone.
 The bite-sized piece of scone should be eaten in 1-2 bites.