The Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar: December 23

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, open the door to reveal a Spinoff writer’s short, sizzling commentary on a weighty subject. Our arbitrary and strictly enforced word limit: 365. Today: Simon Day on the scourge of the scone. 

I’ve spent the last six months trying to like scones. After seeking advice on where the best scones could be found I travelled to Mt Eden, to Wellington, and to the north of the United Kingdom. Everywhere I went I was left sorely disappointed, but ultimately sure my opinion was in fact a fact: scones are shit.

The famous cheese scones from Nikau cafe in Wellington tasted flavourless to me, needing huge amounts of butter to be palatable. I had a revelation in Scotland when I experienced clotted cream cream for the first time, heightened by homemade blackberry jam. But even these delicious condiments couldn’t rescue the crumbly, chalky scone that tasted like someone had sent a chunk of Dover’s famous cliffs north on the train to Edinburgh.   

I’ve tried again and again to find the mythical “good scone”. It just doesn’t exist.

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Scones are dry and bland. They’re the saddest representation of British food, the world’s worst cuisine. They’re crumbly and messy. They have no personality. They’re of such an indifferent disposition that they can be both sweet and savoury at the same time. Scones taste like something you’d eat in your WWII foxhole. Scones’ popularity in New Zealand are one of colonisation’s most disappointing contributions to this country.

A scone is never the right choice for the moment you think you’re in. If I need a vehicle for butter I’d choose a slice of sourdough, or a crumpet, or a baguette over a scone any time. If I want something to carry my raspberry jam and cream, give me a sponge cake, or a lamington. If you want to eat something bready with four different types of cheese it’s not a scone, it’s a quattro formaggi pizza.

Remember every time you go to eat a scone you have a better option. Give me a croissant, a cheese twist, a crepe or galette, a cinnamon bun, a dosa, a bagel, a cheese toastie, a donut, a pretzel, a slice of vogels, a danish, even a fucking cheese roll, over a scone any day.  


Read the Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar in full here.


The Spinoff’s food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms. They believe talking about food is nearly as much fun as eating it, and they’re excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.


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