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Our Royal Cinnamon has the intense sweetness and spiciness that Vietnamese cinnamon is prized for. Often mislabeled as Saigon Cinnamon, this heirloom variety rarely reaches the US. Want to see a cinnamon forest?
Royal Cinnamon is the species Cinnamomum loureiroi. It was historically called Saigon cinnamon, but most of what's exported as Saigon cinnamon these days is Cinnamomum cassia. They are different species, but they are often confused for one another, and it's worth noting that neither cinnamon grows anywhere near Saigon!
Use it in place of Saigon or other cinnamons in pastries and baked goods, or sprinkle into rich, savory meat or tomato-based dishes.
Our Royal Cinnamon comes from the mountains of Quang Nam in central Vietnam. This area was historically famous for spicy, sweet cinnamon, but in the last decade, the commodity market has shifted further north, where the prices are lower. Everyone told us that this area wasn't worth visiting and that their heirloom cinnamon variety wasn't being harvested anymore. We were very happy to discover that's not the case - the cinnamon here IS being harvested, and is incredible, probably the most intense we've ever tasted.
They use a technique for harvesting cinnamon that we've never encountered before - instead of chopping down the tree to harvest the bark, they make a deep cut around the base of the tree and let the bark dry on the tree for a couple of weeks before harvesting it. That makes it easier to harvest, but it also concentrates essential oils rather than letting them evaporate as the bark dries in the hot sun. The bark comes off the tree mostly dry and very intensely spicy and sweet, with a beautiful fragrance that we could smell from half a mile away.