An ancient Ajwa proverb
However, some dates are just better than some others. In India, we are accustomed to consuming local grown varieties, Iraqi, Irani or Egyptian dates. In the Middle East and North Africa, these dates have lesser popularity. Some of these are even used as animal feed.
Then the question one must ask is why do we import these to India? The answer is simple, they are cheap.
Saudi Arabian dates are almost like the treasure of the sands. They are considered superior and perhaps the best Dates in the world. However, Indians seldom get to taste these. Only one type of these fine Saudi dates are imported in India and that is only during Ramadan. Ajwa Al Madinah is often used to break the fast. And they are not that widespread among the general public.Well that is about to change.
A recent meet organized by Food Bloggers Association of India saw the arrival of Bloggers, journalists and even a professional Chef. Everyone wanted to see and taste these Dates themselves. Were these really that good? The answer in short - Yes, they were.
Up next were the famed Ajwa dates. Upon tasting, I realized that the earlier comparison was no misnomer. These dates are indeed superior. The comparison of Saudi Dates to Dates sold in India is akin to comparing a Palace to a Shanty.
While Ajwas are grown in Medina, Sukkari are grown in Qassim in Saudi Arabia. These are some of the most expensive dates in the world. Its surprising how location and weather while harvesting can affect the taste and appearance so much. However, its money well spent for these Golden dates. And Siafa's variants are amongst the finest out there.
Captain : Look at these Golden Dates. Its almost like, I have found treasure in the sands of Arabia.
Crewmate : Ah...ok. These are quite sweet and nice. Maybe we should get some for the crew.
Captain : Nonsense, those lads abandoned me for this trip. They shall get none of this.
Captain : This is mintilicious.
Crewmate : Ye..yes, I liked the Hazelnut flavor a lot.
Captain : Aw, stop being shy lad. Try everything. Just leave the mint for your Captain.
These flavored Dates are sold like chocolates in premium tin boxes. They make a great treat for gifting or a worthy replacement for Mithais during Diwali. I would certainly enjoy a box of Siafa's Lemon-Mint Dates more than a box of Kaju Katri.
This special range has other varieties too. There is Sagai Dates with Honey, Nuts, Cardamom and saffron. And then there is Ikhlas Dates with Honey, Nuts, Cardamom and Saffron. The reader must excuse me a bit here, its hard for me to describe everything given the sheer range of things sold here. But its safe to say that there is enough special stuff to have you making several sorties to the store. These things are largely unheard of in India, let alone be sold. These are truly some of finest treasures of Saudi Arabia.
Captain : This is a Date Heaven.
Crewmate : Uh, can I try one too Captain?
Captain : Sure lad, just one though.
To end this on a sweet note - Here is a picture of what I call the King's chalice. This is amongst the most stellar offerings of Siafa. It attracted attention from both inside and outside the store.
The Captain's Score : 9/10
"Ha, I laugh at those fools who chose to not join me for this trip. Maybe we could tease them with our eventful tales from the Arabian Ni..dates."
Below Federal Bank,
Lokmanya Tilak Marg, Near Crawford Market,