The taste is pleasant, very surprising given that the odor has a bitter tinge. In Louisiana there are a number of local brands of pure cane syrup from the southern cane fields. I have never liked this syrup. If memory serves, it has a smokey quality that overpowers the sweetness. I was expecting rapadura to possess the same punch, but its caramel flavor was well balanced. The texture is lovely--it melts as it crumbles in the mouth. And a little bit goes a long way--I only ate a couple of shavings just now, with some coffee, and it's got me near jitters.
Sugar production is something in common between this region of Brazil and southern Louisiana. João Cabral de Melo-Neto, a poet from Pernambuco, has a few poems devoted to the cane fields of the region. I can't help thinking of Louisiana poet Jack Bedell, my friend and former teacher, when I read the de Melo-Neto poems. He, too, has a number of poems relating to the fields, and the hard lives of those who work them.