For an authentic taste of Arabia, nothing beats a box of succulent dates, available for sale at shops, souks and supermarkets across the city. Dozens of different varieties are available, grown in various countries around the region, each with its own distinctive appearance and taste, and all as instantly recognizable to the true connoissuer as a fine vintage French wine.
For the very best dates, head to one of the various branches of the city-wide Bateel chain, where you’ll find a superb selection of dates grown in Bateel’s own plantations in Saudi Arabia (generally reckoned one of the best sources of authentically plump and succulent fruit). Dates are sold either plain or jazzed up with the addition of slices of almond, lemon or orange. True hedonists should try the chocolate-covered dates – much more appetizing than you might think.
Aficionados might be interested in the chain’s other date-related offerings, including date biscuits, juices and jams, not to mention more outlandish concoctions like date pesto and date mustard, plus a small selection of fine (date-free) chocolates. They also do nice gift boxes if you’re looking for a present.