The distinct flavour of cinnamon not only compliments fiery Sri Lankan curries but also, worldwide favourite sweet treats such as pumpkin spice lattes. Have you ever wondered where the golden, cigar shaped rolls of cinnamon come from? The cinnamon groves of Sri Lanka are located exclusively within the island’s southwestern and western regions. The abundant rain and the tropical sun provide the ideal conditions for cinnamon growth in these parts. Located within easy reach of some of the most sought after luxury villas Sri Lanka has to offer, cinnamon-lovers can learn more about the traditional practice of cinnamon peeling in the island’s south coast. Tours can be easily arranged from accommodation options such as the Pebbles Beach Villa and many other hotels in the south and south western coast.

The bark of cinnamon trees are harvested twice each year, immediately after Sri Lanka’s two monsoon seasons when the soaked bark can be easily stripped off. The harvesting starts when the trees are about three years in age. The harvesters remove the light brown outer bark of the cinnamon tree, underneath which a light yellow inner bark is found. This inner bark becomes the world famous Ceylon cinnamon after peeling and drying.

Cinnamon peeling requires great skills which still remain unchanged from generations ago. The traditional art still employs the same tools which were used centuries back. The peelers sit on the floor and scrape the rough outer peel from the cinnamon stems. A brass rod is used to smooth the surface of the inner bark and to loosen it from the hard wood. Then, two parallel slits are cut into the treated cinnamon stick and the bark’s soft inner layer is carved out in one piece without causing any damage or flaking. These bark layers are very delicate and packed in layers and rolled. These are allowed to ferment for a day before they are air dried for up to seven days. Once dried, the rolled quills turn a golden shade and are trimmed to the desired length before packaging.

Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world.