Nothing better evokes the warm feelings associated with home, winter and holiday season than cinnamon. The nose knows: a traditional Dutch apple pie with cinnamon is your recipe to success when selling your house; it will have homebuyers lining up at your door.
The history of cinnamon
No one knows where cinnamon sticks come from. There is a bird called the cinnamon bird that gathers the fragrant twigs from some unknown location and builds its nest from them. To harvest the cinnamon, people attach weights to the tips of arrows and shoot the nests down.
That’s not actually true, but it was Aristotle’s best guess when he described cinnamon in his Historia Animalium in 350 BC. We have since located the source of cinnamon, relieving us of the necessity of shooting down the nests of mythical birds.*
The evergreen, fast growing cinnamon tree in only found in tropical climates. The real cinnamon is from Sri Lanka, formerly called Ceylon. Together with Indonesia, China and Vietman they produce 99% of all cinnamon.
The name cinnamon is derived from Latin, “canella” or “stick”. Around 2800 BC cinnamon is already mentioned in the botanical book of Chinese Emperor Shennung. Cinnamon was also known in ancient Egypt, where it was used in perfume and as a medicine.
In the 14th century, cinnamon was first mentioned in Europe; it was one of the four so-called fine spices, which were handled by the Dutch East India Trading Company. Before the Europeans took their own cinnamon from the Far East they were familiar with this spice since cinnamon was conveyed via the Middle East and via the Dutch
The uniquely hot aromatic flavour and pungent taste of cinnamon is due to the essential oil prepared by pounding the bark, macerating compounds in it. To produce cinnamon sticks, the inner bark of the cinnamon tree is removed, which can only be done after seven years. After pealing it takes another 4 to 5 years to harvest again. The bark pieces are stored to dry, causing the bark to roll up like a cigar and to obtain the characteristic yellow-brown colour.
Cinnamon is used in both savoury and sweet recipes; its robust and heavy flavour is usually employed in winter or autumnal dishes. Cinnamon has a delicate though strong sweet and woody flavour, adding complexity to each recipe. Once brewed in our Winter Ale cinnamon creates a sweet and light woody flavour for that typical speculaas taste.
Health benefits of cinnamon
‘Let food be thy medicine’ definitely goes for cinnamon. It works anti-bacterial, antihypertensive, spasm-solving, stomach enhancing, antifungal and wound healing. Scientific evidence has shown that cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels. Diabetics therefore benefit from eating a little cinnamon every day.
Cinnamon is a rich source of minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, B1, B2 and C. With its third position on the ORAC scale it is a powerful antioxidant; important to counteract aging. On top cinnamon is healthy for your brain: it makes you calm and improves your concentration.
Recipe to success
Welcome this winter season with our warming Winter Ale. Our nose knows: giving your loved ones a Lowlander Winter Ale is your recipe to success this holiday season.
*Source: The Drunken Botanist