The secret of panela’s making in Viterbo
The sugar cane is one of the pillars of Viterbo’s economy. It is then transformed into panela in a trapiche thanks to an artisanal process.
Did you know that Colombians love panela?
They use it to make delicious beverages (Guarapo) or to sweeten their coffee.
During our stay, Bruce suggested we visit one of the best Trapiche in Viterbo. It is located only 20 minutes from our Finca.
20 min before arriving, I see smoke coming out of a long chimney. In this hangar open to the 4 winds, the employees are bustling like ants.
Everyone knows what he has to do.
Gustavo, the owner, grinds sugar cane. In some smaller trapiches, this process is done with a millstone and a mule.
Here, Gustavo is lucky. It is the machine that does all the work.
After the pitiless cracking, the sugar cane juice flows along a pipe and arrives in the “kitchen.”
This is where the real work begins.
The sugar cane juice is heated in a large pot, in which some drops of Balso (it’s a tree) sap are added. It eases the decanting process.
You stir and let it simmer.
Afterward, the top of the mixture is throwing away. The rest is transferred to another, smaller pot thanks to a large spoon.
The process is repeated multiple times.
There are 7 pots in all, lined up above a burning earthen conduit fed by the pieces of cane that have been crushed.
It takes steady and expert hands to transfer this hot and sweet liquid between the pots successfully.
In front of the last 3 small pots, there is the production manager. With his expert eye, he knows when the panela is finally ready.
The panela is then cooled in a large wheelbarrow and stored in molds for about ten minutes.
And it’s ready!
Why book this experience in Viterbo
During a visit to a trapiche, you will be able to observe the entire transformation of the sugar cane into panela. You won’t see it in other countries.
How to book this tour
We work with Bruce our local partner.