• The culinary culture of Chamarel would not be complete without mention of Tilambik, a raw fermented sugar cane juice resulting in unrefined rum. Production of alcohol served as one of the first reasons for sugar cane cultivation on the island, and artisanal  tilambik was deemed illegal, partly because of its high alcohol content. It has been said that most people on the West coast were involved in Tilambik production in one way or another. As it had to be hidden from authorities and from opportunists who might steal the brew; villagers collaborated to guard the brew while it cooled. Retailers were responsible for the bottling and transporters got a commission as well. Earlier last century, a bottle could be sold for Rs. 50, and helped many people  make ends meet.[1] Tilambik long remained a part of social life, perhaps to face the hardships that  came with working on plantations or to celebrate life events during long sega nights. It has been replaced today by refined rum, which visitors can taste in the Rhumerie de Chamarel.


    [1] Rosabelle Boswell, Le Malaise Creole: Ethnic Identity in Mauritius. New Directions in Anthropology, 2006.

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