taste test: dates

taste test: dates

It wasn’t actually until my latest trip to Bateel, that I had noticed just how many types of dates you could buy. In their store, I’d only seen seven of them – which is a lot in themselves. However, I later discovered that there are actually around 600 different kinds of dates in the world! With my sweet tooth, my heart skipped a beat. I knew I had to try as many of these dates as possible. So with the help of Bateel, I bought the seven variations they had at hand to get me started. Most commonly, it’s the Deglet Noor or Medjool that we tend to buy. But, with so many variations out there, why aren’t we enjoying more of the other types that are available to man?

I love Bateel, and have always managed to get lost in admiration of their luxurious foods whenever I make a visit to them. From Nougats, to Baklava (my favourite food in existence), and with every kind of dried fruit or nut you could dream of, their brand is beyond my idea of perfection. They truly make me become like a kid in the candy shop.

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The Taste Test.

In order from left to right:

1. Barhi – one of the smallest of the selection, but big in flavour. This date was soft and chewy with a light syrupy flavour, almost like chewing toffee. Very similar in texture and taste to the Kholas date. The syrup notes are quite mild, and don’t hit you straight away.

2. Ajwa – with looks more similar to raisins or prunes, it’s no surprise that its taste is somewhat alike. With a slight flavour of molasses, it’s sweetness is dark and rich, almost like burnt sugar. The texture is more similar to tougher dried prunes. It’s tougher and firmer than your typical date.

3. Kholas – almost my new favourite. Like a bigger version of the Barhi date, this variation has a soft, melt in your mouth texture with a delicate, lightly crisp skin. The taste is like golden syrup, but you have to take a moment for that flavour to come through. Light, delicious, and easily addictive.

4. Sagai – similar in looks to the Kholas, but not in taste nor texture. With a milder sweetness, this date has less of a strong taste, but carries flavours more similar to treacle. In texture, it is light but slightly mushy. With a thicker bark like core and less of the typical gooey outer layer, it creates a bouncier overall texture. More preferable for those with less of a sweet tooth.

5. Khidri – darker in colour, this date carries strong toffee flavours and a sweet, sugary taste. It’s fairly chewy, but with a more solid composition, like an actual ‘chewy toffee’. It’s the perfect date for those who like things extra sweet.

6. Medjool – after this taste test, the medjool has actually fallen down in my rankings. With more of a tropical flavour, this date is much more fruity, and has less of caramel taste than the other kinds. Surprisingly the flavour reminded me slightly of dried papaya. Which is good if you like more tropical dried fruits. With a firmer texture, the form of the date is more held together, and overall less sweet than some of the other types.

7. Wanan – last, but by all means least. This date has to be my absolute favourite. With the softest, most moist and rich texture, this date truly melts away within a bite. It’s flavour has the strongest taste of caramel, but also slight hints of citrus notes and vanilla, making it the perfect combination of tastes for me. With it’s winning texture and very slight fruity feel this date is definitely a winner in my eyes.

 

In order of preference:

1. Wanan

2. Kholas

3. Khidri

4. Barhi

5. Ajwa

6. Medjool

7. Sagai

 

So, after this taste test, I definitely think it’s time we embrace some of the other date varieties out there. With so much differentiation between them, there could be so many amazing flavours that we’re missing out on. I am so thankful for Bateel, and how they enabled be to begin my discovery! Now, I’m now longing for another bite of the Wanan date whilst wondering how I can find the other 593 types out there. To try these dates or for more information on Bateel, their shops and their cafes, visit:

http://www.bateel.com/01_about.html

 

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