Cinnamon was one of the earliest spices to have been traded between ancient civilisations. Its sweet aroma continues to fill kitchens around the world today, adding depth to both sweet and savoury dishes – from American sticky buns to Iranian stuffed apples. 
Angela Nahas

28 Mar 2013 - 2:07 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM


United States
Sticky buns
The origins of this treat are heavily debated. Some say the earliest cinnamon roll may have descended from a medieval fritter, while others believe the Swedes, with their slightly less-sweet cinnamon roll, known as kanelbulle, are the original creators.

Pasta with bharat-spiced chicken and vegetables
In North Africa, pasta dishes tend to be concentrated in Tunisia and eastern Algeria. Nawasar is a small, flat square pasta that is made with semolina and flour, similar to Italian quadrettini and Greek hilopites. The pasta is traditionally served with either lamb or chicken spiced with bharat.

Savoury stuffed apples
The extravagance of early Persian banquets is legendary and their mastery of herbs and spices is known to have impressed many visitors and invaders alike. It is said that when the Macedonians conquered Persia, they were especially impressed by how delicately they stuffed and cooked their vegetables, poultry and lamb.

Sri Lanka
In 1672 Dutchman Philip Baldaeus wrote, 'The Helen of this Isle is the finest and purest cinnamon." It is the spice that drew the attention of colonial powers to the island, becoming the main article of trade for the Dutch East India Company.

Photography by Derek Swalwell