Monique Pirson, passionate about sugar
What do you do in your daily life?
After having worked for a few years in the food service industry, I decided to become a housewife. Every day I have many things to do for my family, in my house... I spend most of my free time for my collection of packed sugars.
How did Raffinerie Tirlemontoise enter your life?
It was in Paris in 1981 that, whilst drinking a cup of coffee on a terrace, I became so ecstatic about a little packet of sugar… At the time, I was completely unaware that this packet would brighten up my life.
I took it with me and continued to search for more of them throughout my week-end in Paris. So much that, at the end of the 3 days, I had about twenty different packets of sugars in my bag, some decorated with flowers, cars, etc. This was the start of a great adventure! I just had entered the world of ‘Sucrology’ or the hobby of collecting packets of sugar.
Upon my return to Belgium, I continued to look for other packets of sugar. When I got my first Tirlemont packets of sugar, I noticed to my delight that they were very colorful, and all different from one another. I was so happy! Even more, since several years, collecting as many packets and sachets of sugar manufactured by Raffinerie Tirlemontoise has become a real passion and a natural reflex.
How does sugar influence your life?
There is not one single day in my life during which I am not occupied with my collection of packed sugar. Here are some sweet key moments of my life:
In 1986, I was the first Belgian to become a member of the French ‘Club de Glycophiles’ and I took part in my first exchange exhibition in Paris. A few years later, in 1997, I decided to organize the first International Sucrology Exhibition in Belgium, in my home town of Bioul, and this was commemorated with a Tirlemont Cube which was specially manufactured for that event.
At the end of the 80’s, I visited the sugar factory of Tirlemont at the start of a campaign. It led me establishing my first contacts within Raffinerie Tirlemontoise, and I became very interested in its history and sugar production. I have an excellent relationship with this great company. For example, in 2002, my collection was used to compile a Raffinerie Tirlemontoise press file to celebrate the centenary of the Sugar Cube. I am also very proud that I could contribute in 2011 to the elaboration of documentation and several exhibitions for the celebration of the 175th anniversary of Raffinerie Tirlemontoise.
Over the years, my collection of packed sugars has never stopped growing. I own now over more than 350,000 pieces. But my collection does not consist only of packed sugar. I also have several tools and utensils that were used in the past for the production of sugar, old documents, etc. What is important for me, is the history and the uniqueness of each piece.
My passion for sugar is still as strong as ever and has no bounds. It has even led me to open a small museum. It will be entitled ‘Musée du sucre emballé’ and it will be built in my house. Of course some transformation work is necessary. We don’t have an official opening date yet. However, people interested in already visiting my collection of packed sugar, can contact me at the following email address : email@example.com.
What is your favorite sugar of Raffinerie Tirlemontoise?
For me, Tirlemont packets of sugar are the main focus of my collection, and I am proud to own:
the first Adant packets of sugar from 1930
the first 1 kg packs of sugar cubes from the 1940’s
the first 2 kg sugar loaves