The Great Scone Trail History

The Great Scone Trail History

The Great Scone Trail History

medieval baker with scones

French baker and scone aficionado Guilliame Brun in character at Wanaka’s medieval fair.

A good scone  is the benchmark of a worthy kitchen. Without the ability to produce a tasty example of one of the earliest forms of baking, how can a cafe or kitchen expect to be taken seriously?

But bolstering those traditional cooking standards have been more modern, even exotic influences embraced in the south.

Consider Guilliame Brun, a French baker now living permanently in Wanaka, who was selected as the head judge for the baking goods category of the Upper Clutha A & P Show.

Historically parochial and almost in its 80th year as one of the of the country’s largest rural gatherings, the show has a number of coveted trophies for its Home Industry awards.

Baking, along with preserves and jams are highly contested categories with some entrants now in their third decade of competition.

That Guillame was selected for his judging role – and regarded by some longtime observers as one of the most thorough judges to date – shows how traditional southern fare can be open to change.

Good cooking is, simply, good cooking.

Here is his approach to the task at hand:

“The first thing is the look.  You buy with your eyes, color, shapes, presentation. Then I smell the product, break it and check the texture. Is it crumbly, puffy, under-mixed or over-mixed?

Finally I bite and expect the flavour to fill my mouth and close my eyes just to appreciate the moment. Lately I tried one of the best scones at Edgewater Resort, Wanaka.

A freshly-made scone with a nice triangle shape and a golden color, a nice aerated texture crusty on the outside, soft inside with a nice salmon flavour made me close my eyes and smile. Heaven.”

The Great Scone Trail won’t just sustain you for the road ahead, you’ll also get a glimpse into the character and personalities of the southern region. Enjoy your journey.

A brief history of the scone:

Often described as the original Scottish shortbread ‘Skones’ were made from oats and cooked on a griddle over a fire with the most common ones today made from flour and baked.  Sometimes savoury with additions such as cheese or even salmon and cream cheese, sweet versions with dates and raisins are also common.

The origin of the name itself has several versions. The Dutch ‘schoonbrut’ or beautiful bread is one story while another is that the word came from the ‘Stone of Destiny’ in Scotland where kings were crowned.

Historical origins point as far back as 1500 AD with scones making their breakthrough into high society when they became an essential menu addition to the ritual of ‘taking tea’ in England. Credit has been given to the Duchess of Bedford in the 1830’s, who ordered tea with cakes and scones which then became a regular occurrence of ” afternoon tea”. The result has enriched our lives.