A Day-Trip to the Usine du Gol

If there’s one thing we’ve noticed about Reunion in our short time here, it’s that everything is much sweeter. Therefore we decided to visit the sugar cane factory one morning, before they are closed for production in December, to see how the magic happens.

We made reservations for a morning visit and set out to St. Louis bright and early. The tour was surprisingly full, reservations are definitely recommended.  The first part involved a short cartoon video explaining sugar production and the various uses of its by-products; but the best part was yet to come. Before you can enter the facility you must gear up(photo op!). We put on hairnets, hard hats, and special headphones so we could hear the guide. Here’s a helpful hint: the factory has strict clothing guidelines so leave your jewellery at home and make sure you wear trainers. 

Our first stop was the entrance of the factory where they weigh both the tractor and the sugarcane together. We then moved along to where the tractors drop off their cane in order to begin the refining process. The tour then moved along the inner workings of the factory, with some stops for taste tests along the way. The temperature increased drastically along parts of the tour, making sugar is an intense process! 

The most interesting thing we discovered on the tour was how much sugarcane is actually produced in Reunion, over 210,000 tons! Although 70% of Reunion sugar is exported to mainland France under the brands La Perruche and Blonvilliers, a good portion is sold here in Reunion under the brand Mascarin (be sure to try some next time you’re at the supermarket). All in all we had a great morning at the factory and would highly recommend it if you’re in the area!

Vocabulary

To notice – remarquer
Sweeter – plus doux
Therefore – donc
Closed – fermé
To happen – se passer 

To set out – partir
Bright and early – très tôt
Full – plein
Involved – impliqué
By-products – sous-produit 

Yet to come – encore à venir
Gear up – se préparent
Op (slang) – occasion
Hairnet – charlotte
Hard hat – casque dur 

Headphone – casque
Jewellery – bijoux
Trainers – basket
To weigh – peser
The area – la zone

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