Royal Cinnamon has been harvested in the mountains around the ancient Vietnamese capital city of Huế for millennia.
The same species as Saigon cinnamon (cinnamomum loureiroi), Royal Cinnamon is an heirloom variety not widely harvested or exported, and exemplifies the intense sweetness and spiciness for which Vietnamese cinnamon is prized.
Use it in place of Saigon or other cinnamons in pastries and baked goods, or sprinkle into rich, savory meat or tomato-based dishes.
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 evaporating 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.
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