Fabrica Mel-de-Cana Ribeiro Seco de V. Melim, Lda – Founded in 1883 – With over more than 125 years of history, Fábrica Mel-de-Cana Ribeiro Sêco de V. Melim, Lda is a reference in the production of sugarcane syrup, a product that crosses its identity with Madeira Island’s own identity.
Right after the Island’s discovery, in 1419, the company established itself as one of the sugarcane producers,whose activity became of great relevance in the prosperity of Madeira. Up to this day, the city of Funchal coat of arms represents its arms as five sugar breads.
The sugar, sugarcane syrup and white sugarcane spirits production reached its peak in the XV and XVI centuries, because although the 33 sugar-mills were of small dimensions, a lot of foreigners stated that the Madeira’s sugar was the best in the world.
In the XVIII century, after a not so good period, only the Ribeira dos Socorridos sugar-mill laboured. Of great importance in the revitalization of this product, this sugar-mill was the “father” of the Fábrica Mel-de-Cana Ribeiro Sêco, whose historical records merge in a familiar relationship.
In 1883, Ribeiro Sêco sugar-mill is born by the hands of Aluísio César Bettencourt, but it’s by the direction of his son, Luís Vogado Bettencourt that the name of this factory blends with the sugarcane syrup itself. With the enclosure of the white sugarcane spirits mills in 1927, Luís Vogado Bettencourt mortgages all of his patrimony and resorts to the bank in order to invest in the factory, turning it in a specialized sugar-mill for the production of sugarcane syrup, making it known as engenho do mel.
After his death, the factory is ruled by his wife, Maria Ilda Bettencourt, being then inherited by her nephews Jaime dos Santos Melim and Vasco Rates de Melim. It’s Vasco Rates de Melim that that focuses in the production of sugarcane syrup continuing the work of his ancestors to this day, sharing the Fábrica Mel-de-Cana Ribeiro Sêco with Maria Alexandra Melim Camacho, Maria Luísa Melim Encarnação, José Alberto Melim and João Carlos Melim.
Between peak periods and others of less production, sugarcane syrup has never stopped being produced and at the Madeira inhabitants table, especially for Carnival and Christmas. Fábrica Mel-de-Cana Ribeiro Sêco is a factory that protects sugarcane culture as a timeless patrimony of Madeira.
The sugarcane syrup that’s present at the Madeira inhabitants table is the result of a process that starts with the harvest of sugarcane. In the factory, the canes are inserted in two mills known as sugar-mills, from which the sugarcane juice is extracted, known as “guarapa”. This is then directed to a filtering process, cooked, and followed by another filtering that ensures a flawless rigor in the process of product improvement.
In the next phase, the “guarapa” enters the evaporators to continue the cooking process and evaporation of the remaining water. At the final stage, there’s a new cooking and last filtering which precedes the introduction of the syrup in the vacuum boiler. In the last step, already sugarcane syrup is placed in a reservoir where it sits and cools down naturally.
Sugarcane syrup is much more than a testimony of history, it’s a living product, modern, constantly adapting, and whose production is a true form of art.
MELBOM – Comércio de Produtos Alimentares, Lda. is the official distributor of the Fábrica Mel-de-Cana Ribeiro Sêco brand’s products. It’s based at the Fábrica Mel-de-Cana Ribeiro Sêco and will help you acquire Ribeiro Sêco sugarcane syrup, as well as the breads and cakes of sugarcane syrup.
A 100% natural product, sugarcane syrup is the perfect substitute for sugar, a delicacy rich in proteins that can be used not just in sweet confectionery, but also day-to-day in order to give a new taste to life. Besides being present in traditional Madeira sweets, sugarcane syrup can be used to cook meat, fish, salads or even used for medicinal purposes.
Sugarcane syrup has various minerals like: phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and three vitamins (B1, B2 and PP), being everyone of them important to your health. Therefore, sugarcane syrup helps you maintain a healthy life: raises red blood cell count, balances the nervous system, cements calcium, contributes to longevity.
Here are some ways sugarcane syrup can be used in your day-to-day:
- Added to yogurt,gives it a delicious taste
- Sweetens the coffee, replacing sugar
- With bread in substitution of butter and fats
- With nuts, a perfect combination
- Against insomnia, a spoon in a glass of milk fifteen minutes before sleep
- Helps you lose weight, a litre of fresh milk with half a cup of milk powder and two spoons of sugarcane syrup (preserve in the refrigerator, you can drink a litre a day)
- In cooking (see book: Receitas com Mel-de-Cana)
- In yam and sweet potato
- In mal-assadas, sonhos and rabanadas