Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Dates Festival at Souq Waqif

For the next couple of weeks Souq Waqif has set up a large tent where local farms can sell dates.

Despite the fact that it was a weekday evening, and it was H-O-T out, there was still a decent crowd of people shopping for dates. Many wheelbarrow guys were parked outside the tent to take the shopper's wares to their car. At the festival people weren't buying a small box, they seemed to be buying at least 5-10 kg of dates.

A couple of years ago I posted about the various stages of ripeness for dates. We are most familiar with dark brown, wrinkly dates, which are actually the final stage of ripeness and are called tamr in Arabic. At the festival only a few stall sold tamr dates, the vast majority were selling dates that were at an early stage of ripeness and were yellow or red (bessar), or slightly brown rutab dates.

I didn't buy anything, bessar and rutab dates aren't really to my liking (less sweet, somewhat bitter and crunchy depending on the stage of ripeness) but a Qatari friend once told me that a lot of Qataris prefer them over tamr dates. If you've never tried bessar or rutab dates head over to the Souq sometime this week and give them a try.

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