There’s nothing better than a warm scone generously buttered and smothered in good quality raspberry jam. It’s one of those things that I’ve loved since I was a kid and hasn’t changed much unlike Bewley’s cherry buns, but that’s a matter for another day. The one difference I’ve seen in recent years has been the inclusion of fruits and berries to the humble scone and I for one am a supporter of this change. How can adding variety in the form of raspberries, apples and blackberries be a bad thing especially when it hasn’t led to the detriment of the original scone? Like anything, there scones of varying quality out there and we’ve attempted, through eating vast quantities of scones, to uncover the best of the best, for your convenience of course.
We decided to compare scones from Marks and Spencer (M&S), Keoghs Cafe and Donnybrook Fair as they had been the most consistent through several scone munching years in Dublin. (Cafe Sol also make excellent scones but they’re not open at the weekend when we were buying scones, perhaps they’ll get a write up soon if they’re good enough).
The only factors we were concerned with when rating were taste and texture, price varies drastically but, as you’ll see, it has no bearing on flavour.
These plain, all-butter scones were by far the smallest of the bunch and the shortest, meaning they crumble much more than others making them difficult to butter, a minor annoyance. Despite their size, these scones are very heavy, almost too heavy and cake like and coat your mouth with an oily residue. This scone feels more like a pastry and for that it scores 6/10. Good but not great.
Keoghs have the biggest variety on offer so we opted to try two (for consistency purposes, not because we’re fatties); the apple and blackberry and the raspberry(left). These are hefty scones with a hefty price tag to match but they were both surprisingly loaded with fruit so that makes up for the cost a bit. However, the sweet and tangy fruit just can’t make up for lack of flavour of either scone and only blackberry was detected in the second scone. Dry and slightly chewy meant we were repeatedly buttering the scones in between bites to add some much-needed moisture and flavour. Certainly not as good as they used to be and could probably be avoided at that cost. 6/10
Blueberry and raspberry was a combination I’ve never had in a scone and boy have I been missing out. The sweet blueberry balances the tartness of the raspberry perfectly. The scone was excellently baked, soft and pillowy with a great flavour not overpowered by butter. We found these scones needed only a little butter and jam and were not overly filling. Warm slightly, messily slather on some butter and jam, eat with a cup of tea on a cold winter weekend morning. Score 9/10