The Cinnamon StoryBack
The gentle coastal hills of southern Sri Lanka are especially suited to the growth of cinnamon. The Portuguese were led to this part of world in search of cinnamon, cutting out the Arab middlemen. In those days it was gathered from wild trees, but, as the Dutch succeeded them, the first plantations were attempted, which then flourished. Cinnamon remains a major export of Sri Lanka, and its use in both cooking and medicine are being increasingly appreciated. Eulogized in poetry from the Song of Solomon to Michael Ondaatje, more than any spice it has become subject of romance. Even now the aroma of cinnamon being peeled to create the “quills” induces a feeling of well-being tinged with sensuality.
A local cinnamon planter will greet you with a cinnamon infused juice before you make the climb to the estate. Wander uphill and encounter local peelers from the estate and nearby small-holdings gathered at a shed to process and extract cinnamon oil. There are many women peelers at work and at times the entire family gets involved. Observe the peelers at work, hear about the uses and healing properties of cinnamon and it’s grading. Enjoy the stunning view at the top and try your hand at peeling at the Ambalama. If you opt to do this experience privately, cinnamon tea tasting and/or light lunch could be pre-booked at an additional cost. For group bookings however, only cinnamon tea tasting can be arranged by request.
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