2005 Independant Food Festival: “Baking Sugar with the Most Personality”

Baking Sugar with the Most Personality

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.

Taste EverythingArmed 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.

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  • http://shewhoeats.blogspot.com/ chika

    Hi Clotilde,

    I, too, like the idea of “sugar with morals” but the sugar does look beautiful and sure, really a “sweet” thing. I hope I can try that out one time!

  • http://fingerineverypie.typepad.com Julie

    Clotilde, do you use this sugar instead of white sugar in any and all baked goods? Are there some where you wouldn’t use it, preferring granulated white sugar? Thanks…

  • fallenangel

    i also take care of “sugar with morals” ! that’s why i’m always looking for new products from the “commerce équitable” : sugar, coffe, fruit juice (excellent !), candies… my favorite sugar is a complete cane sugar from Perou trade mark: Ethiquable

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Julie – When I use this sugar, I replace all of the white sugar in the recipe. But I think you could replace just half, it would still make a difference. So far I have used it in cookies, crumbles, cakes and tart dough, and the results have always wowed me. I don’t always use it though, simply because it’s rather pricey. But if I could I would!

  • http://overacuppa.com may

    i totally agree… i usually use brown castor sugar or sometimes even ‘raw’ cane sugar… because i feel it makes the baking products taste a lot better… =C)

  • Anthony

    I sometimes use “Demara Sugar” (I think that is how you spell it) . Is this a similar sugar to the above?
    Does anyone know?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Anthony – From what I understand, Demerera (alternate spelling Demerara) sugar is one type of unrefined sugar, originally from Guyana (it is named after a river that runs through it). Other kinds include Turbinado, Muscovado or the rarer Sucanat.

  • http://fingerineverypie.typepad.com Julie

    Thanks, Clotilde, for your response. I ask because while it’s not likely that I’ll be able to source your beautiful Brut de Canne Roux Clair here in New York, I have found a particularly lovely large-crystal demerara sugar by a small producer, tucked away in the corner of a Latin grocer in my neighborhood, and was thinking to try it for baking, in the way you suggest…

  • Penny

    For me the most interesting point of this sugar is not the color but the origin. Like coffee, sugar can taste differently from place to place. Why haven’t we considered this before? It’s always been brown – light brown – demarara – white. I return to the analogy with coffee. This could be the beginning of something very big about sugar.

  • http://www.gladysgreen.com Gladys

    Is it possible that an unrefined sugar can be good for a person’s health? I have recently given up using sugar, and I don’t really trust the artificial sweeteners, but I used them anyway, and they taste pretty bad. But I’ve been thinking that maybe unrefined sugars can’t be so bad, can they?

  • Aisha

    Haven’t tried the sugar you mention here. But I regularly use Alter Eco’s Sucre de Canne Brut: unrefined, organic, fair trade (from the Philippines), a Muscovado. It’s a lot darker than yours, between a “roux” and a “brun”. I simply love its flavor, especially when I use it to sweeten my tea! For baking I more often use a blond unrefined organic sugar.
    But yay! to you for supporting ethical causes. When I gradually started switching from conventional to organic and fair trade, I was afraid of the cost. But if you shop smart, the added cost isn’t prohibitive, and I figured I could make a tiny sacrifice on my side so my human brothers and sisters could live slightly better lives!

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