Ceylon cinnamon comes from the Cinnamomum verum tree, native to Sri Lanka. The parts used as a culinary spice are extracted from the inner bark of the tree. Sticks are formed when the bark is sun-dried, causing it to roll up on itself.
In Western countries, cinnamon is primarily used to add flavour to desserts, cakes and cookies and for sprinkling (with sugar) on porridge. However, it is also excellent with meat, fish, vegetables, rice and beans. It is a delicious ingredient in tea mixes, its scent reminding us of Christmas.
Ceylon cinnamon has a strong, sweet and aromatic taste - in contrast to Chinese cinnamon which is milder and has a slightly nutty taste.
Cinnamon sticks are often used in stews and casseroles with bean, rice, chili and fruit - or used for mulled wine and tea. Indians often stir-fry a cinnamon stick, cloves and peppercorns with onion and rice.