Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Cinnamon is a spice from the inner bark of one of the cinnamon species.
The four main kinds of cinnamon are Padang cinnamon, Chinese cinnamon or cassia, Saigon cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon or "real" cinnamon. They can all be sold under the name "cinnamon".
Cinnamon has been known since antiquity.
Cassia cinnamon is considered lower quality. It is very cheap and is the type most commonly consumed around the world. Almost all cinnamon found in supermarkets is the Cassia variety.
Ceylon cinnamon is less common and has long been prized as a cooking spice. It is quite expensive compared to the more common Cassia variety.
On the island of Sri Lanka, only the Salagama had the right to touch cinnamon and all those who dared to touch it, other than the Salagama, were punished with death.
Often this island was attacked by the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British, but this people managed to defend themselves and protect the cinnamon.
Cinnamon was used by ancient Egyptians in the process of embalming.
The Bible, “Herodotus”, Arab-Muslim doctors and other classic writers refer to it.
The tree is cultivated all over the world, but most of the quality productions come from Sri Lanka, Seychelles and Madagascar.
It is a pale yellowish brown colour, a strongly scented smell, and a sweet and warm aromatic taste. Its flavor is due to the odorous and tasty compounds it contains.
These compounds are present in the essential oil, also marketed, which is prepared by roughly hammering the bark, allowing it to macerate in sea water, then distilling the whole. It becomes golden yellow, with the special smell of cinnamon and its powerful taste. Cinnamon is found in many preparations, from the middle Ages to the present day.
However the arrival of this one in France would have taken place only in 1220, but at the moment, the historians are still divided on this subject.
You can find this spice in the famous “hypocras”, a medieval drink among others.
Cinnamon is mainly used in cooking as a condiment and aromatic substance, in combination with plum, in the preparation of chocolates and liqueurs, but also in Indian and Oriental cuisine.
It is commonly used in the United States and Canada in the preparation of apple pie and other sweet apple dishes (for example, "Apples and cinnamon" is a common flavor among sweet cereal brands) and in some Portuguese pastries like the famous pasteis de nata.