True cinnamon (occasionally known as Mexican Cinnamon and Canela) is not the cinnamon we use most of the time in North America. If you are looking for standard cinnamon, see Indonesian Korintje Cassia.
Unlike cassia sticks, which are made of a single, thick layer of bark, true cinnamon quills are made from many thin sheets of bark and are delicately layered. They are quite fine and brittle and look a fair bit like cigars. True cinnamon was grown only in Sri Lanka for 200 years and monopolized by a succession of colonizers (Dutch, Portuguese and English) until it was smuggled out in the late 1700s and planted in India, Indonesia and elsewhere.
True cinnamon has been used extensively in Mexico and Europe for ages, but for some reason, it hasn’t made the jump to North America. For those of us who have never been exposed to it, it can be quite a surprise. The presence of Eugenol in the volatile oil of true cinnamon gives it complex and subtle flavour, with clove and citrus notes that really distinguish it from cassia.
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