Most of Reunion's farmland is covered in sugar cane, which is transformed into sugar ... and rum! Particularly popular locally is rhum arrangé which literally means 'arranged rum' but can be loosely translated as 'macerated flavoured rum'. One or several ingredients such as vanilla, bananas, cinnamon, geranium, lychees, ginger are added to a bottle of white rum and left to macerate for several weeks or months (the actual length of time depends on the ingredient(s)). It's drunk as an after-dinner drink and most homes in Réunion always have a bottle or two at least; most restaurants will offer you a shot after dinner.
A week past Sunday we were at a restaurant at St Bernard (a district of La Montagne, Saint Denis) which is located in part of an old leprosarium. I hadn't been back there recently but I remembered they had the biggest collection of rhum arrangé I've ever seen, and I wasn't disappointed when I saw it again. The photos below show just part of the collection, which apparently numbers more than 300 bottles. As well as the usual ingredients there are some more unusual ones, such as chewing-gum or grass snake!
|pomander-like rhums arrangés on the bottom shelf|
|part of the vast collection|
|note the large bottle of honeycomb rhum arrangé |
in the lower middle of the photo
Cheers! Santé !