The highly anticipated, 4th Local Dates Festival 2019 opened this July 23, 2019, and is expected to run until August 3, 2019 from 4 pm - 10 pm in Souq Waqif. The festival has been organised by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment and Souq Waqif as part of the Summer in Qatar programme, which is curated by the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC). It aims to promote homegrown dates, provide local producers an opportunity to sell their goods to the public and reach more customers.
The festival features a large variety of dates from over 80 local farms across Qatar. It is part of a wider strategy to diversify offerings for both residents and visitors in Qatar, showcasing local businesses and providing authentic experiences and traditional products particularly the dates.
Farmers and businessmen from all over Qatar are exhibiting their freshly harvested dates and date products for locals and tourists alike who can buy from the nearly 50 stalls at the festival. The price of the dates ranges from QR 7 to QR 18 depending on the type of date. All the prices are being regulated by Baladiya to ensure control and to validate prices inside the festival.
For information purposes, dates are the fruits of the date palm tree. The date palm can be found all over the Middle East, including Qatar, and dates are a staple food all over the region. Several varieties of dates are grown in Qatar today, and many of these are highlighted at the festival. These include:
Khudri dates are among the most popular type of dates in Qatar. They are moderately sweet and their outer appearance is a bit flaky. They have a uniform dark brown colour and are not too wrinkly on the outside.
Among the varieties of dates, Zahidi dates are one of the roundest types on the list. Their medium-sized appearance makes them more appealing to customers. Zahidi dates have a golden coloured exterior and have a sweet taste that complements their overall appeal to date lovers.
Safawi dates are a special variety of dates that melt in your mouth quickly and are very fruity. They are brownish-black in colour and have a soft, semi-dried exterior that is wrinkly in texture but not flaky. Safawi dates are among the favourite dates during Ramadan.
Sufri dates are soft, a little dry on the mouth and are very chewy. Their juicy characteristic sets them apart from the rest. Sufri dates are also among the best-selling dates in Qatar, and one of the main reasons for this is their golden brown colour. According to some locals, Sufri dates are believed to have medical benefits like controlling constipation and intestinal disorders.
Khalas dates are oblong in shape and reddish in colour. They originated in Saudi Arabia, but are now locally grown in Qatar. Among all the dates, the Khalas dates are the most popular. They are a tasty and crunchy snack for people in Qatar because of their sweetness especially when they are ripe.
Shishi dates can best be described as sweet to sour and feel dry when you eat them. They are wrinkly in appearance with a dark brown colour. Medically, based on their characteristics, Shishi dates are rich in fibre and are a great antioxidant for the body.
Khenaizi dates are the most commercialised types of dates. In Qatar, according to the locals, their rich and sweet flavour has made them one of the most popular dates in the market and customers come back again and again for these Khenaizi dates. Many locals suggest that eating them fresh rather than dried is more appetising to the palate.
Barhy dates have this rare characteristic that can’t be found in most type of dates. They have a syrupy rich and soft feeling when eaten. They are considered the softest dates in the market and the most fragile of them all. That’s why people with a sweet tooth love them so much.
Dates are picked from date palm trees and can be eaten fresh and straight from the trees. Many prefer to eat dates as they are, all-natural, but some people have new ideas on making dates more interesting. Dates are softened, preserved, dried and commercialised into goods that the public love to buy. Here are some of the products made from dates that are selling like hotcakes at the festival:
Aside from these creative and delicious products made from locally produced dates, the date slush is a must-have at the Local Dates Festival. It's just QR 10, healthy and a great thirst quencher in the summer heat as you go around the festival checking out the variety of dates and deciding which ones to buy.
If you love dates, now is the perfect time to visit this interesting Local Dates Festival. Buy your very own local products to help farms across Qatar and businesses to flourish and contribute the economy as well. Enjoy your visit and make sure to have fun!
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