Cassava Biscuits Making at H.Rault Factory:
Around 1735, Mahé de La Bourdonnais brought a tuber of South American origin, called cassava or manioc, into Mauritius. At the time, sugar estates were growing it and using it mainly for cattle feed. The oxen would pull cartloads of sugar cane from the fields to the factory. In 1868, Hilarion Rault, whose father had come from Britton in 1807 to settle on the French colony Isle de France, developed a recipe for cassava biscuits. Family members on whom he had tried his recipe encouraged him to market his biscuits. Thus in 1870 the “Biscuits Manioc” were launched on the local market. Although people enjoyed them, the biscuits weren’t a big success as cassava was perceived to be an animal feed. However, it didn’t stop Hilarion Rault from entering his invention in the London Franco British Exhibition in 1908, where he duly won a silver medal! During the First World War our little island was not spared: As staple food was unable to reach the island, the population turned to cassava biscuits which was the only available flour. The biscuit factory tripled its production and more than 100 people worked night and day to supply biscuits to the whole island. The trains travelling between the north and south of the island, would leave every morning with loads of biscuits.