A small rock in the Atlantic

All about the island of La Palma, in the Canaries.

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Friday, 6 November 2009

The Rum Factory

Rum Distilling Equipment, Puerto Espindola, La PalmaRum Distilling Equipment

La Palma has a small rum factory, at Puerto EspĂ­,ndola, in the borough of San Andres y Sauces. Unlike most rum factories, they start with sugar cane rather than molasses. After all, La Palma had commercial sugar cane plantations in the 15th century, before the West Indies had them. At harvesting season, the factory's south building smells of sugar cane being crushed and fermented.

Distillation happens in the north building, which is the one you can visit. The still is wood-fired, and surprisingly small. Then the rum goes into oak barrels, to mature.

Rum Barrels, Puerto Espindola, La PalmaRum Barrels, Puerto Espindola, La Palma

Once the busy season is over, there's just a couple of people in there, folding boxes, filling them with bottles, and keeping an eye on the place.

You can visit without an appointment. In fact it's wonderfully informal - just stick your head around the door and say, "Hola." The downside of the informality is that they don't do guided tours (well, maybe for a coach party by appointment). I went with a friend and we were waved towards a board showing the stages of rum-making. and then we were given samples in the shop. Such a shame I was driving! If you like sweet drinks, I recommend the "ron miel" which is rum and honey (very comforting if you've got a stinking cold, but you don't need to wait until then).

Me, I'm trying to work out how to wangle an invitaton to their Christmas party. Cheers!

The shop, Puerto Espindola, La PalmaThe shop, Puerto Espindola, La Palma

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