The aroma is simply captivating to the senses and the taste unrivalled; its timeless goodness is without doubt. Cinnamon, native to Sri Lanka is the pride of the country and is definitely a spice of distinction. This multipurpose, fragrance-filled flavoursome spice can be added to any food. Its sharp yet pleasing aroma makes it an ideal blend in salads, desserts, confectionaries, beverages, soups, stews and sauces. It is an ingredient for many home-based remedies, preferred in Ayurvedic medicine and even common in Chinese treatment procedures.
The cinnamon drink made by immersing pieces of bark in hot water and cinnamon flavoured tea is becoming popular globally. Cinnamon leaf and bark oils are used in food production, the perfumery industry and the pharmaceutical industry.
Sri Lanka produces the finest cinnamon in the world and is the world’s largest cinnamon producer, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of global production. Cinnamon was first grown in the central hills of Kandy, Matale, Belihul Oya, Haputale, Horton Planes and the Sinharaja forest range. Today, cultivation is concentrated along the coastal belt from Negambo to Matara, Kalutara and Ratnapura.
There are eight cinnamon species in Sri Lanka, among them only Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Blume is grown commercially. As a tradition, several types of cinnamon have been categorised based on taste of the bark. Accordingly, Pani-Miris Kurundu was the best with sweet-pungent taste.
The bark of the cinnamon tree is available in the form of quills the making of which is unique to Sri Lanka. Quills are made by rolling the pealed bark, of which several are joined together in the shape of a pipe in the required length. Pieces of bark are available as chips, quillings or featherings.
Cinnamon is a unique plant which has essential oil in its leaves, bark and roots, but the chemical composition in them are completely different from each other. Cinnamon is also available as pure powder, as pellets and as an ingredient in Sri Lankan curry mixtures.