Sugar cane was known by both the Greeks and Romans. It seems that sugar cane is native to India, so that sugar was once called “Indian salt.” The botanical name is Saccharum officinarum. Venice, point of embarkation of the troops, has rediscovered first the fresh powder on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean and was indeed known as ” European sugar industry.”
In 1506 sugar cane was planted in Santo Domingo and from there spread throughout Central America. Sugar extracted only from cane, was sold by the apothecary, in the form of bread that had to be tapered away just before use. In 1747 it was discovered that the sweet beet grown in Europe, contained a certain percentage of sugar and found a way to extract it.
At one time it was also said that sugar cane sweetened more than that extracted from sweet beet – which is false because the two products are chemically identical. The production of beet sugar, favored by Napoleon when the embargo was organized by the whole of Europe against France, deprived the cane sugar, increased the spread of sugar that is now produced from crops grown in temperate climates and is no longer considered a precious ingredient.
Today, Europe consumes especially beet sugar, but the connoisseurs prefer the cane to extract because it seems simpler, with no action required by the chemical processing of beet sugar, and it is therefore considered more natural because it is less refined.