In and Over Scones

Where to find the best scones and toppings

The Crumpet Shop, at the entrance of the Pike Place Market, in Seattle, makes the most authentic and best scone I know in the country—baked as a 3-inch-high round cake and served in wedges, with the light, moist, open-pored texture of a quick bread and a buttery color and flavor. You can buy a whole “cake” fresh and take it home, but the shop doesn’t do mail order, and it closes when it runs out of crumpets (big, yeasty English muffins) and scones, which is always about 90 seconds before you get there (1503 First Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101, 206-682-1598).

If you’re looking for a classic American-style scone—which is to say a buttery, somewhat flaky cross between a biscuit and a shortcake—look no farther than Concord Teacakes, a company the baker Judy Fersch built on her light hand for pastry. They arrive fresh, with or without currants or cinnamon chips (www.concordteacakes.com, 978-369-7644).

For my money, Katz and Company makes the best jams in the country. Its unquestioned stars are apricot and raspberry, which sell out practically before the crops come in. You’ll have better luck with the strawberry, with lots of fat strawberry chunks, for a couple of months at least (www.katzandco.com, 800-676-7176).

If you can’t find imported clotted cream, stick with the superior crème fraîche from Vermont Butter & Cheese Company—not quite as thick, and decidedly more tart, but as luscious as any English gentle­person could wish, especially muddled with fruit preserves. Allison Hooper, the company’s co-founder, also makes an excellent cultured butter—meaning butter with actual flavor—that would be great over hot scones. Now if she’d only sell buttermilk to go into them (www.vtbutterandcheeseco.com, 800-884-6287).

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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, immediately after which he came to The Atlantic. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.

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