Sri Lanka Cinnamon
True Cinnamon is the dried bark of a tree called cinnamomum zeylanicum, native of Sri Lanka. The best quality cinnamon is still only produced there.
It has a sweet taste, very aromatic and delicate, ideal for sweets but also for savory dishes and infusions (cinnamon tea is delicious).
Here we sell cinnamon sticks (10 cm long) sourced from small organic plantations in Sri Lanka, of the best quality (grade C5 special)
This post was updated on February 1st, 2019
Cinnamon is the dried bark of the cinnamomum zeylanicum (the name implies that it come from Ceylon, the ancient name of Sri Lanka) and it is not to be confused with Cassia, or Chinese cinnamon, also the dried bark of a tree of the genus cinnamomum, but with a different flavor.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CINNAMON AND CASSIA
True Cinnamon’s main aromatic components are Trans-cinnamaldehyde (49%-63%) and Eugenol (5-10%) with minor quantities of cinnamyl acetate and Linalool. This aromatic profile makes cinnamon aroma sweeter and the flavor far more complex than cassia (which is mostly trans-cinnamaldehyde).
Visually we can see that cinnamon sticks are formed by multiples thin layers of dried bark, yellow-ochre in color; the sticks are soft, friable, and easy to cut with the hands. Cassia bark is instead thick and hard, with a darker orange color; a single layer of dried curled bark creates a stick.
Cinnamon taste, as already said, is delicate and sweeter, while Cassia is more pungent and with a bitter after taste.
Another difference between the two cinnamons is the presence of coumarin, a substance found in cassia but not in cinnamon. According to European authority on Food Safety, coumarin is toxic and can cause liver damage; the Authority suggest to not exceed an Acceptable Daily Intake of 0.1 mg/kg body weight (this correspond, for a 60kg person, to approximately a teaspoon of cassia).
Our cinnamon is grown by small farmers in Sri Lanka, according to their historic traditions and in compliance to organic agriculture; the grades of cinnamon are many, according to the length of the bark pieces (quills), to the color and the presence of foxing (stains). The absolute best is Alba grade, made with the longest and slender stick of bark and no foxing at all, then come C5 special, C5, C4, C3 etc, with increasing levels of accepted foxing and bigger quills. We sell whole cinnamon quills of C5 special grade.
TASTE AND USES IN THE KITCHEN:
Cinnamon is the second most used spice in the world (even if in this statistic cassia is probably included with true cinnamon) and if we in Europe and in western countries are generally used to see it in many sweets and desserts, in the rest of the world it is used in savory dishes as well. Mexican cuisine makes great use of cinnamon in moles, marinades, sauces (and of course in desserts), Moroccan also use cinnamon in meat dishes like tagines, kofta and pastilla. When used in combination with other spices (like cumin, coriander, saffron) cinnamon give a subtle sweet taste that create a unique and complex layer of flavors. Add a piece of cinnamon in long cooked tomato-based sauces, or in a meat stew, and see for yourself.
In market analysis cinnamon and cassia are generally considered equal. Two thirds of the world production come from Indonesia and China, and third is Vietnam, but all three produce only cassia varieties (cinnamomum burmannii in Indonesia, cinnamomum cassia in China, and cinnamomum loureiroi and cassia in Vietnam). Sri Lanka, the only producer of true cinnamon (c. zeylanicum) – with some production also in Madagascar and India – is fourth but has the higher production price, and quality.
Cinnamon pairs well with the following products:
Spices – Cardamom (classic combo in Scandinavian sweets), clove, cumin, nutmeg and mace.
Seasonings and herbs – Citrus juice and zest, basil, mint, thyme, myrtle
Fruits & Vegetables – Onion, pumpkin and squashes, tomatoes, apples
Proteins – Lamb, Poultry, Pork
Other – Almonds, raisins, chocolate, cream
Cinnamon is considered traditionally a good remedy against vomiting, nausea and diarrhea, and is also used to help digestion and soothe stomach problems.
According to Ayurveda it is a warming spice, and an expectorant, making it the spice of choice for treating colds and sore throats. Try an infusion with cinnamon, ginger, and a bit of black pepper to fight winter ailments and you’ll see for yourself.
With its sweet taste is also good as a sugar substitute, and can be helpful in diets for weight loss (its stimulating properties are good for metabolism and to burn more fat); try and use less sugar and add instead a pinch of powdered cinnamon, you will be able to drastically reduce sugar intake.
Cinnamon can also be helpful for a fresher breath and for teeth gums (just chew a piece of bark after a meal).
It is also a very important source of antioxidants.
Matale district, Sri Lanka
Paper Stand-up Pouch (resealable, fully biodegradable)