Sugar Cane, the Lost Crop around Periana

Most visitors to the Costa del Sol will have a vague idea that there was a Moorish presence in Spain at some time in the past, and are attracted to tourist destinations such as Cordoba and Granada which have some of the most stunning Moorish architecture to be seen anywhere in Europe.  The Alhambra Palace in Granada is in fact the most visited tourist attraction in Spain.

Canes like these are still seen alongside riverbeds and not to be confused with Sugar cane. They are tradionally used as a building material or even to make musical instruments.

As we will see later there was much more to the Moorish invasion than just architecture and anyone travelling the roads around Periana some fifty years ago would have noticed the remaining sugar plantations started by the Moors over one thousand years before, and which until the middle of the last century was a valuable part of the local economy.  Plantations were established all along the Costa del Sol and as far inland as Periana, further inland the temperatures were too low and there was insufficient water supplies.  There were several sugar mills along the coast notably in Motril and Torre del Mar, but today all that is left of the latter is a chimney.  This refinery was for many years owned by the Larios family (of gin fame) and they were able to make not only sugar but also rum and honey.  We at Restaurante Cantueso still use Caña de Miel (Cane Honey) and find it popular on such dishes as aubergines in batter.

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