Our range of Brown Sugars
Raffinerie Tirlemontoise offers a range of sugars to its customers, among them the brown sugars. There is Brown Candy Sugar, dark or light, but also “Graeffe Brown Sugar”, which is also called ‘kinnekessuiker’ or ‘children’s sugar’. But what is the difference between al these types of brown sugar? In order to find the answer, we’ll have a closer look.
First and foremost, it is important to know that all our brown sugars are made of beet sugar, a local product, as opposed to the cane sugar which is used in other countries.
Brown Candy Sugar, based on white granulated sugar
In order to make Brown Candy Sugar, ordinary white granulated sugar is brought from our plant in Tienen to Candico, our factory in Merksem. The sugar is then dissolved in water and boiled at a specific temperature. In the meantime a small amount of caramel is added for colour. Depending on the amount of caramel, we eventually get a dark or light Brown Candy Sugar. This solution is cooled gradually over 12 to 13 days, whereby hard sugar crystals are formed.
However, the entire base product is not formed into hard crystals; some syrup will remain. This syrup is added to a vacuum pan and grafted with sugar crystals, after which this mixture is further reduced. Through this process the crystals will grow. This mixture is then added to a centrifugal machine. The high-speed centrifuge then separates the remaining syrup from the sugar crystals.
And the result? Two end products: Brown Candy Sugar and Candy Syrup.
You can say that we use one base product, white granulated sugar, in order to offer the consumer two delicious and also very different sugar candy products.
Graeffe Brown Sugar, a golden sugar with a delicate flavour
The first thing that is remarkable about this sugar is its name. Where does it come from? The “Graeffe” Brown Sugar was invented by Karl Graeffe, born in 1818. At the age of 40 he founded a sugar factory in Brussels. In 1929 the Graeffe Refinery family business became a public limited company. In 1953, 24 years later, the company was taken over by Raffinerie Tirlemontoise. The production of Graeffe Brown Sugar was transferred to Tienen, where, up to this day, the sugar is still made according to the traditional production process.
How is Graeffe Brown Sugar made?
For the production of Graeffe Brown Sugar we need a sugar solution (granulated sugar dissolved in water) and sugar syrup. This is made in our sugar factory in Wanze. The sugar syrup, in addition to dissolved sugar, contains a variety of minerals derived from sugar beets. These minerals give Graeffe Brown Sugar its specific flavour later on in the process.
The sugar syrup is mixed with the crystal sugar solution. This mixed syrup is first purified and then filtered, after which it is boiled down in a vacuum pan. Crystals are then formed. The hot cooking liquid, now a mixture of crystals and sugar syrup, is cooled down, whereby the crystals continue to grow. When the product is at the right temperature, it is poured into turning centrifuges. Here the sugar syrup is dried around the crystals. It is this dried sugar syrup that results in the specific characteristics and soft flavour of Graeffe Brown Sugar.
Brown Sugar: 100% Belgium!
To make a long story short, all our brown sugars are made using Belgian beet sugar. Whereas Brown Candy Sugar is made by separating sugar crystals from the syrup, Graeffe Brown Sugar is made by drying the sugar syrup around the crystals. And this way, we offer the consumer different qualities of sugar, depending on their taste.