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Rapadura is the Portuguese name for a form of sugarcane juice, used as a sweetener or as a candy, common in Latin American countries such as Brazil and Venezuela (where it is known as papelon) and the Caribbean. See also panela. It is dried sugarcane juice, in the form of a brick, and is largely produced on site at sugarcane plantations in the very warm tropical regions. It was originally created as an easier way to transport sugar. In Venezuela it is an essential ingredient for many typical recipes, and in some parts of the country, it is used in place of refined sugar as a more accessible, cheaper and healthier sweetener.
In Panama it is also called raspadura, thought to derive from the words "raspar" (to scrape) and "duro" (hard), a reference to the way the hard sugar brick is shaven to produce usable shards for cooking. The local dialect often drops the letter "s", resulting in the word we hear as "ra'padura".
In Costa Rica it is called Tapa dulce because it is usually formed as a cup.
When mixed with other ingredients such as peanuts, condensed milk, coconut, or white sugar, it produces a good number of locally marketed and consumed delicacies.
Rapadura is very rich in dietary iron.
Despite the fact that rapadura is a very old foodstuff, predating even the colonization of Brazil, a German company called Rapunzel has registered the name as a German trade mark DE 1143537, an event that has greatly angered Brazilians, as they see the name as a generic all-purpose word, like "lemonade" or "sandwich". Given the fact that there is a precedent (when Japanese Asahi Foods registered the name of the Brazilian fruit Cupuacu as a trade mark) the Brazilian government is taking measures to prevent what it understands as theft of the Brazilian identity by pirate entrepreneurs . Such measures would include registering brands that previously had not been considered for registering, such as "feijoada", "jabuticaba" or "churrasco". Some Brazilian individuals and companies are also attempting to counter these moves by registering brands from the "offending" countries, such as Sake and Shoyu (from Japan) or Sauerkraut (from Germany) in order to point out the absurdity of accepting generic foods as trademarks.
As of February 2009, Rapunzel has removed the Rapadura name from their unrefined and unbleached whole cane sugar product sold in health food stores, though their website has not yet been updated to reflect this.
List of Brazilian dishes
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Rapadura