February 22, 2005
Today is the 1st annual edition of the Independant Food Festival and Awards and I am honored to be a member of the jury. The truly original and exciting idea of these awards, brought to us by TasteEverything.org, is that each of the 30 jury members created one award (as focused and specific as s/he wished) and determined who should receive it. This results in a delightfully eclectic collection of awards, each of them a reflection of one food enthusiast's individual taste, passion and/or obsession. As a whole, they draw a fascinating and mouth-watering landscape of today's world of excellent food and drink.
Armed with my own personal award, I chose to recognize the Baking Sugar with the Most Personality, and I am happy to announce that the winner of this award is Destination Sucre - Brut de Canne Roux Clair, as selected and sold by the Centre de Caféologie, a company based in Bordeaux, France.
This is a light brown cane sugar (the literal meaning of roux is red-haired and clair means light), organic (grown without chemicals and manually harvested) and unrefined (the juice extracted from the sugar cane is minimally processed so the natural flavor and nutrient components stay right where they are), and purchased from an azucaria in Paraguay, according to the rules of fair trade and under the Max Havelaar certification.
So. A sugar with morals. I like that. But more importantly, this is far and away my favorite sugar for baking: its delicate golden crystals give out not just their elegant sweetness, but also their complex toasted aroma -- caramel and resin and exactly what you think gold should taste like -- and the perfect dose of tooth-teasing crunch.
Everything I've ever baked with it has magically taken on a new flavor dimension, one that elevates a baked good from "this is nice" to "ohmygodthisisincrediblyamazinglyandastoundinglygood". And everytime, I have taken no credit for the success of my rapidly vanishing production and humbly replied, "it's all in the sugar".
I am not sure anyone ever believed me though, which is why I am particularly keen today to publicly aknowledge Destination Sucre Brut de Canne Roux Clair as my most faithful and deserving baking companion.
Congratulations sweetie, and thanks for everything!
Note: I buy this sugar from my trusted organic grocery store Naturalia, located at 54 rue Lamartine in the 9th (01 49 70 07 47), for about 4€/kg. The price of sublime.
Easy Candied Almonds and Hazelnuts
Homemade Galette des Rois