This exceptional cassia was harvested in the village of Tungkar on the island of Sumatra. It comes from an extremely rare 30-year-old tree: this type of spice is usually harvested from much younger plants. This bestows an uncommonly intense flavour with a slightly more pronounced bitter taste. In Sumatra, where its also called kayu manis (sweet wood), one piece is generally added whole to slow cooked dishes, a little like we would add bay leaf in Western cooking.
Cassia, also known as 'false cinnamon' or 'Chinese cinnamon,' is the dried bark of the cassia tree. Sticks of cassia are dark-coloured and hard, and are sold in North America as cinnamon. Though its fragrance is less complex than that of true cinnamon, cassia is a rich spice, equally well adapted to both sweet and savoury dishes. It is essential in the preparation of American apple pie, «cinnamon» rolls and it is great with oatmeal or french toasts. In the Middle-East, cassia is often used to perk up grilled meat, much like black pepper.