A fantastic journey into the world of rums and sugars
- Reunion Island is A land of diversity and sharing.
- Your perfect day A summer day by the pool
- Your favourite place The Dioré trail in the highlands of St André
- Your passion Football
- Your favourite dish Cari ti-jacque
- Your favourite artist Baster
Sugar in all its forms
I spent an exciting evening visiting the Bois-Rouge Sugar Factory and the Savanna Distillery, in Saint-André. To really understand what becomes of this sugar cane which covers most of the fields on the island!
Every year, from July to December, the heart of Reunion Island beats to the rhythm of the sugar harvest. The farmers cut the cane in the fields, tractors and trucks transport it
to the factory where their sugar is extracted. Then the distilleries come into action, to produce a highly respected rum. I wanted to understand how this chain worked by signing up for a tour of the Bois-Rouge Sugar Factory and the Savanna Distillery.
I turned up in the late afternoon in Saint-André, at the Tafia and Galabé shop, at the foot of the plants. A short film introduces us to the topic - novices that we are: sugar cane has been grown on Reunion Island for 200 years and the techniques for manufacturing sugar and rum have obviously evolved considerably since that time. Some technical innovations are inventions from Reunion, which have now been taken up in all sugar producing countries.
With our helmets on, we set off on the tour of the sugar factory. Imagine a giant factory, a steel monster full of deafening noise, jets of steam and light playing on machines the like of which we have never seen: just like a film set! And everywhere, the smell of sugar and cooking.
Then we learn about the two ways of manufacturing rum, distilling it either from fermented cane juice, which produces "rhum agricole", or from molasses, a by-product of cane juice filtration, which produces traditional white rum.
White rum, aged rum
For many years, the Savanna Distillery, adjoining the sugar factory, has also been ageing white rum in huge oak barrels, which after a few years produces spirits which are on a par with cognac and Armagnac. You can learn all about the art of ageing in a workshop where apprentice cellar masters learn to control the degree of alcohol in a rum, or how to blend the various aged rums on offer.
The tour finishes with a tasting session to teach us how to detect the flavours in the different types of rum. All our senses were stimulated during this enjoyable moment when we also tasted samosas, "bonbons piment" and chicken kebabs. Since then I recommend this tour to all my foodie friends who come to Reunion Island!
"Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health. To be consumed in moderation"
Authentic discovery of industrial heritage
Interactive experience where all your senses are awakened
Tasting local Reunion products