We just recently swithched from supermarket crapola cinnamon to Extra Fancy Vietnamese (cassia) Cinnamon. What a difference in sweetness and intensity. Well worth the premium IMO and I ain't going back! Apple pie in the oven right now and it smells wonderful.
Jenise wrote:Bill, welcome to the light (the place where the inferiority of supermarket herbs and spices is known and avoided). Are you a Penzey's customer yet?
We have a Penzey's store here in Indianapolis and that is where I picked up the cinnamon. We grow/dry many of our own herbs, but Penzey's but we'll definitely be sourcing more of our spices from them in the future.
My wife and I stopped by the Penzey's store in Portland, Oregon on our last trip down I-5 from WA to CA. We've been a mail-order customer for years but never before had the opportunity to visit a store. We enjoyed the fact that they had samples many of spices out for smelling. In the case of cinnamon, our noses actually pointed us in the direction of the Chinese cassia, so that's what we bought. Whether smell correlates completely to taste, who knows?
For more delicate dishes, I prefer the Ceylon "True Cinnamon". This is like Mexican cinnamon, which is "real" cinnamon. Cassia is a different species.
40 years ago in elementary school, we used to make cinnamon-flavored toothpicks, which we soaked in pharmaceutical grade cassia oil. This oil had a cautionary note on it indicating that it had a laxative effect. I'm not usre that effect translates to the ground cassia bark, but the notion always sticks in the back of my mind.
Given the consensus here, I'll have to give the Vietnamese stuff a try. I suppose my experience in the store might have been affected by how fresh the various cinnamons were. You'd think Penzey would replace them all regularly but you never know...