Cinnamon is an aromatic spice used in both savory and sweet recipes as it embraces other ingredients with a subtle sweetness and warmth. Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices in the world and so recognizable that “cinnamon” is often used to describe a reddish-brown hue in art or decorating.
Cinnamon is the dried bark of an evergreen tree that grows mostly in southeastern Asia. The spice arrived in Europe in the sixteenth century, yet its name derives from the Greek “kinnamonon” suggesting that it was known in Greece in ancient times. This is supported by references to the spice in ancient Greek and Roman texts.
Cinnamon has been a cornerstone of Greek cuisine since the Byzantine Empire and is identified with the cuisine of Asia Minor Greeks. The spice is used in sweets, cookies, custards, and cakes while in savory dishes it’s used mostly in tomato-based sauces or stews. The stick is used mainly in cooking when a hint of flavor is desired, while ground cinnamon is used for a more intense result or for sprinkling on desserts like rice pudding.