Anyhoo- thought i'd curl up with some warm tea and tell you about Rapadura.
I learned of it while reading Nourishing Traditions and planning the Lox recipe. The recipe called for Rapadura, a certain kind of cane sugar. As an fyi: it's no longer called rapadura in the stores, the company (Rapunzel) changed the name to "organic whole cane sugar," in case you're looking for it.
Apparently, folks with low tolerance to sugar, like myself (headaches, highs, lows, depression, tooth ache, you name it) can handle rapadura more easily. It is also made in a more sustainable fashion. See their fancy little illustration:
Jo Whitton over at quirky cooking posted this nice little description recently. Tastewise, i find it to taste a bit like molasses, but not as potent. Kind of a blend of 'sugar in the raw' and molasses: kind of "brown" tasting, not overly sweet. I mixed it with some regular sugar and cinnamon and it makes a great cinnamon toast blend. It has a very good taste combo with the salmon, i'll be using it in my next grilled salmon marinade with soy sauce and garlic (you'll have to wait for it to stop raining to get me out on the grill, haha). Also nice sprinkled on oatmeal. I don't find it to be quite sweet enough to replace my (very dirty habit/addiction to) sweet-n-low, i'm trying agave nectar for that use. I might grow some stevia plant this year too - dry that and sprinkle into my tea: might work. I don't like the idea of stevia powder as it must be processed an awful lot.
The benefits of rapadura come from the very minimal processing of the sugar cane. Most other sugars are separated - white and molasses, then turned into various things and shoved back together. Rapadura is never separated and thus has greater nutritional value (2% Vitamin C, 11% Iron per teaspoon). I also like that they compost the cane stalks - a nice touch.
It's still sugar. You still shouldn't over do it. But at least it's a 'whole' sugar and not some stripped down white stuff.
What's your favorite sweetener?