Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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cinnamon the dried bark of Cinnamomum zeylanicum, a tree indigenous to Sri Lanka, and sometimes known as Ceylon cinnamon, has been an important spice since antiquity; but there was then, and indeed still is, confusion between cinnamon and cassia bark (C. aromaticum). In French, for example, the single word cannelle applies to both. And in the USA the term cinnamon can legally be applied to cassia bark, which is more plentiful and thus less expensive, whereas the British pharmacopoeia requires cinnamon to be the product of C. zeylanicum. Although these spices are closely related, cassia is thicker and coarser and its taste is less delicate.