Kate Humble follows the Spice trail to Sri Lanka
Updated: May 24
The Spice Trail is a documentary series broadcast on BBC2 looking at the discovery and history of spices. Presented by Kate Humble, who travels around the world to see how spices are produced and investigates the history of the spice trade which is full of money, bloodshed, intrigue and discovery. She also looks at how spices are grown, used and traded in the world today. Spices still add valuable flavour to our food, but they are also important to the economies of many modern countries.
Kate travels to Sri Lanka to find out how Cinnamon is produced and how this spice endemic to the island is intrinsically linked to its history and colonial past. Sri Lanka still produces over 80% of the world's supply of true cinnamon and the entire production process is still done by hand.
She visits a cinnamon plantation and learns how the spice is harvested and cinnamon quills are made. First, the small branches are cut and harvested. The outer bark is then scraped by hand and the inner bark is then carefully removed with a knife. The best parts are used to create an outer sheaf and the smaller shavings are placed within. These outer sheaves are joined to each other and overlapped slightly to create a standard length stick or rod known as a quill. The sticks are then rolled daily as they dry and are tied into bundles for trading and transport. She also witnesses the negotiations of local farmers trying to sell the crops they rely on to make their living.
The Spice trail was produced by Lion Television UK and broadcast on BBC2. The filming in Sri Lanka was supported The Dreamforge which provided all location services including research, location permits, accommodation, transport and logistics, etc...
The Spice Trail Season 3 Episode 1 Pepper and Cinnamon.