Laura Weeden prises herself away from the beaches in Mauritius to find out about the island’s sugary history. Well, there was a promise of rum at the end…
Pretty much everywhere you go in Mauritius you’ll find fields filled with sugarcane. And after tourism, the sweet stuff is the island’s biggest money-spinner. To find out a bit more, I popped into L’Aventure du Sucre, an old sugar factory-come-museum.
The museum is only little, but it packs a lot in – there’s a potted history of the island, information on how all the different varieties of sugar are made, plus all the old machinery, so you can see how the raw stuff is transformed into the powdery sort we pick up in Tesco.
Then there’s the gift shop. Usually I’d pass straight by (I’ve got quite enough novelty fridge magnets, thank you), but this one’s well worth a nose. As well as loads of different sugars – who knew there were so many? – there’s locally grown tea, coffee and spices. Plus, there’s a whole section devoted to rum. Which I think every shop should have. Mauritians are big on rum – most places use molasses, but here they produce it from pure sugarcane juice – so you’ve got everything from ready-made orange-spiked bottles to brew-your-own kits with mini bags of sugar and vanilla pods.
There are tastings, too, so you can eat spoonfuls of sugar and sip rum shots with minimum guilt. All in the name of research, mind. This is the kind of culture I could get used to…
Check out our holidays to Mauritius here.
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Author: El Berwick
Published: September 18, 2013
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