The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Sweden, in partnership with the Swedish Master Chef Carola Magnusson, organised an event under the title ‘Ceylon Cinnamon – More Than Just a Spice’ on 21 November at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm. The event was funded under the Economic Diplomacy Program of the Economic Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The audience at the event consisted of trade representatives and Swedes eager to know more about Ceylon spices.
Cinnamon is widely used as a popular food ingredient in Sweden and plays a prominent role within the Swedish food culture. Sweden traditionally celebrates Cinnamon Bun Day on 4 October every year. The main cinnamon variety available in Sweden is ‘cassia cinnamon’ which remains a substitute for Ceylon cinnamon. In this context, the agenda of the event was to highlight the health benefits of Ceylon cinnamon in the Swedish market, giving more information to differentiate it from other cinnamon varieties.
In his remarks, Ambassador Sudantha Ganegama Arachchi stated his intention to initiate a discussion about Ceylon cinnamon in Sweden to develop and strengthen people-to-people contacts. To the audience, he introduced this initiative as “Cinnamon Diplomacy” and invited the participants to carry the message to their friends. World Culture Museums Research and Documentation Senior Researcher Dr. Eva Myrdal made a detailed presentation about the history of the cinnamon trade and how it became instrumental in shaping Sri Lankan history. In particular, she explained how cinnamon attracted Western powers to Sri Lanka and laid the foundation for commercial trade links with the West.
Pegah Kabiri of the Embassy of Sri Lanka made a comprehensive presentation in the Swedish language about Ceylon cinnamon, giving details about its production process, importance to the Sri Lankan export industry and its many uses in Swedish food culture. She also discussed the numerous medicinal values of Ceylon cinnamon by quoting the findings of a peer-reviewed study conducted by Hasitha Priyashantha, a PhD candidate at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and his team.
Swedish Master Chef Carola Magnusson, a leading figure in Swedish organic food movement, discussed her experience of using authentic Ceylon cinnamon as a culinary expert. Magnusson learned about the unique culinary values of Ceylon cinnamon when she was living in Sri Lanka 20 years ago, and since then has been using only organic Ceylon cinnamon in all her food preparations. Her inspiring presentation about Ceylon cinnamon made a positive impression, encouraging participants to use more of this unique spice.
Ceylon tea and cinnamon buns were served to the guests at the conclusion of the event.