Mauritius: Kan en fler!
In 1639, the Dutch introduced sugar cane from Java to the island. During the 18th century, this plant quickly became the main source of our economy, but over the years, production decreased, and the many sugar estates closed down, leaving only four sugar factories still in operation.
When the cane is almost ripe, we can see the remarkable “Kan en fler” (sugar cane flowers) which indicate harvest time. An amazing sight at this time of year, as the white or cream flowers embrace golden hues when caressed by the setting sun. Wandering through the island at this season, you will be bewildered by the cane fields, proudly displaying the large stems twirling in the gentle breeze. This magical panorama can only be seen only once a year.
In the past, during family outings, whenever we would come across sugar cane fields, young and old alike used to love cutting and chewing on some cane stems. A stalk of sugar cane where sucrose is stored is around 3 meters high and a foot of sugar cane can give up to 20 litres of juice, and around 2 kilos of sugar. There is a great variety of sugar in Mauritius namely, Muscovado, Demerara, Sugar Molasses (to name a few), all unrefined, free of additives and of exceptional flavor. These natural sugars come in different colors, flavors, and smells. In addition to sugar, our famous Mauritian rum, which needs no introduction, is also made from our sugar cane. Should you be looking for something authentic to bring back home from your vacation, you might as well choose our sugar and rum: a great option to please your taste buds and reminisce your stay on our sunny island.
This extraordinary plant is used in its entirety: The dried leaves are used for thatching and the green ones for feeding animals, while the bagasse is burned to provide energy. It also provides fiber, fertilizer, ethanol, or biofuel. Having marked the history of the country, sugar will forever be part of the identity and development of Mauritius. Nowadays cultivated on 72,000 hectares, that is 85% of the cultivable land of Mauritius, sugar cane holds a special place in the hearts of each and every Mauritian.