In Colombia they use a different type of sugar to in England.
The first time we went to the supermarket we saw a big section in one of the aisles of blocks of things called panela, but we didn’t know what what it was. We looked it up and found out it is a type of sugar and it is made out of sugar cane. Sugar cane looks a bit like green bamboo when it grows and then the stalks turn brown like sticks when they dry. To make the sugar cane into sugar, they just squeeze the sap out of the green canes and boil it until it gets thick and then it cools and sets into these blocks.
The sugar we have in England is made from sugar cane or sugar beet and it is made sort of the same way but after they get the juice they do a lot more things to it to make it really white and tiny.
When we went to the farm where Simón Bolívar died they had an old farm building where they used to make panela and we saw the machine that squeezed the liquid out of the cane.
In Colombia, people make a lot of things with panela. They use panela in cooking instead of sugar. You can use a grater to get sugar from the big block. They also often make it into a drink called “agua de panela” (panela water) by mixing panela into water. They drink it hot (and serve it with cheese that you can put into the panela water!) or cold. They sometimes add lime into cold agua de panela which I think tastes a bit nicer, but I don’t really like agua de panela because I think it tastes a bit strange. They used to give us agua de panela at school and most children really like it.