Cinnamon is one of those flavors and smells that can’t be substituted, especially around the holidays. I have cooked with coriander and cardamom and they can be quite good—but they are not cinnamon. I find it very interesting though (because I am such a foodie), that what Americans typically purchase and use as cinnamon is in reality, by some estimates, a poor replica of the real thing.
In ages past, ships would travel half way across the world to the shores of Ceylon, also known as Sri Lanka, to trade for the highly prized spice. In fact, one of the main reasons the Portuguese ended up exploring the world was in pursuit of an alternative route to obtain cinnamon. Sri Lanka was the only place “true cinnamon” could be found. Today, Sri Lanka is still the main exporter, producing about 80 percent of the world’s cinnamon supply.
It is the regular consumption of cassia cinnamon that has been found to be potentially problematic.
Ceylon (or true) cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of the tree species, Cinnamomum verum, which …
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