I have never been a huge fan of scones. When in the States, the few times I had them, they were dry, crumbly, sometimes tasting stale. So, I avoided them. Until three years ago, when visiting family in Limerick, Ireland. Sinead, a family friend, invited us along with the cousins over to her country house near the water in County Clare. Sinead made home made scones, which were warm and just out of the oven.
I was in scone heaven. I easily scarfed down two, and they were giant. I don’t know whether Sinead realizes how she single-handedly ruined me for scones.
Upon our arrival in Northern Ireland, I was craving a good scone. But, I realized it couldn’t be just any old scone. We hit up some cafes and lunch spots during our first few days in Belfast and Portrush. I often saw a plate of scones on the counter, some of them looked good. But, I looked at them with a skeptic’s eye. I didn’t want my first scone back on the island to be a disappointment. So, I kept passing them up. I wanted a good scone. I wanted a scone that would make me exclaim, these are the best scones ever!
Scones at Beech Hill Hotel
While staying at Beech Hill Country House Hotel in Derry, the owner, Patsy, offered us tea one afternoon while we sat in the morning room. She asked if we wanted a scone or something. Having already enjoyed a lovely dinner at the hotel restaurant, and having scarfed down an obscene amount of their Irish soda bread during breakfast, I wanted to ask “how good are your scones?” But, I knew the answer before asking the question. I politely replied, “that would be lovely.”
Patsy returned with a two tier tray of freshly baked, warm scones, complete with fresh Irish butter, thick cream, and jam. We sat in front of the fire (yes, Patsy lit the fire for me even though it was the end of June), sipped tea and ate our scones.
And, these scones were incredible! Dense, but light at the same time. The warmth allowed the butter to seep into every pore. I lathered on the jam until my fingers were sticky. Briefly, I lost the track of the conversation because I was overcome with sconey goodness. This was the best scone ever! Or, maybe the second best scone. I don’t want to knock Sinead’s scones. In fact, I would love if she would teach me to make scones. Otherwise, I will wait until I return to Beech Hill and I will ask Patsy to teach me.
We were supported by Northern Ireland Tourism during our stay in Derry, but all views are, as always, my own.
Check out this recipe for Apple Cinnamon scones too from our friend Erin over at the World Wanderer.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.