World-wide more than 600 varieties of Dates exist. The normal end-consumer knows usually about two to three different kinds. We would like to present to you the most common varieties with a brief history and tasting notes to you, because we believe that the noble Date, deserves a proper platform.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Tunisia are the leading date producing and exporting countries. California is the major American producer.
Dates are a staple food in the Middle East and now also taking Europe and the Americas by storm due to their vast health aspects.
We are strong advocates and hope that you will enjoy the information you find on this page.
ABOUT THE VARIETIES
AJWA / AGWA
The history of Ajwa dates goes back to 5000 BC and it’s the part of Tibwi Nabvi, the Medical practice of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) through plants, where Ajwa date has prominence. There are several references in Hadith and Islamic historical literature about Ajwa Dates. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said that “One who takes seven Ajwa dates in the morning, he remains under the protection of Allah from magic and poison for whole of the day". It is believed that eating seven Ajwa dates can protect you from black magic, translated into today, keeps you healthy. The Ajwa date is exclusively grown in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
The Ajwa date is small with a dark brown color and wrinkeled skin. The texture and flesh remind of a rasin. This date has a slight sweetness.
Anbara dates are knows as the "Dates of Kings" and considered one of the best date variety in Saudi Arabia. They are popular but rare dates, as the palm trees are rare and it is difficult to cultivate. The dates are grown in the Medinah region of Saudi Arabia. Anbara dates are large, rectangular shape and reddish color. They are soft and fleshy. The flavor notes resemble cinnamon and caramel.
The Barhi date originates in Iraq. It is named after the hot Bahr wind in Iraq, that is responsible for the early ripening of the dates in summer. Bahri dates are golden brown, the browner the Barhi date, the sweeter is the fruit. The date has a round shape, soft flesh and it is very sweet with a natural honey flavor, which is also why they are referred to as "honey balls". Barhi dates can be enjoyed as semi-ripe as Ruthab or fully ripe. The legend says, that when Alexander the Great passed through Iraq, he would eat the Barhi dates, to sustain during long battles.
Bumann dates are one of the oldest dates cultivated in the United Arab Emirates.
They have a maroon brown color and a soft and smooth texture. It is a juicy date with a sweet and nutty flavor.
The Dabbas date is one of the smallest dates varieties in the world. They are originally from the United Arab Emirates and aremainly cultivated in Liwa for since more than 300 years. Dabbas in Arabic means “Honey Date”. They are golden brown in colour, with an oval shape, a soft skin and a smooth texture with a very mild sweetness.
Deglet Nour is one of the most well-known date varieties worldwide.
It originally comes from Tunisia and Algeria and nowadays it is the most widely grown date in North Africa. Deglet Nour, also called Dakhlanoor in Arabic translates as “Dates of Light” which is attributed to its translucent apparance.
Deglet Nour has an amber color and elongated shape. It has a tender flesh and subtle sweetness, with an aroma reminiscent of honey.
Dekkini dates have a dark skin and elongated shape. They have a sticky and chewy texture and are very sweet. The sticky texture reminds of molasses and melts in ones mouth. Dekkini dates originate in Saudi Arabia.
Dhawi Zawi dates have a firm, deep red skin and they are long and cylindircal in shape. Their taste is milder compared to other date varieties. A very fleshy date that is not too sweet. Originated in Saudi Arabia.
Fankha dates have a round shape and a soft, amber coloured skin. They are sweet and have a slightly nutty taste. They are an early harvest. When refrigerated, the Fankha date remains juicy and tastes as if freshy picked from the palm tree.
The Fard date is dark brown in color, small in size, with a tender skin. It is moist, has a chewy flesh and is moderately sweet. This date is popular in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
This date is small and it resembles a dried prune. It is similar to the Ajwa in terms of appearance and taste. However, it is a bit bigger and a little less sweet.
Khalas dates are one of the most popular dates in the Middle East. They are eaten as a snack and often served with Arabic coffee as a sign of traditional hospitality. Khalas in Arabic means quintessence or ideal.
Khalas dates have a golden-reddish brown color and semi-translucent skin. It is an all time favorite due to its sweet natural caramel flavor and melt-in-the-mouth qualities.
Khenaizi are grown across the UAE regions and they are a popular, traditional snack in the Middle East. They are dark brown in color and medium-sized, with a soft and juicy texture and mild sweetness.
KHIDRI / KHUDARI
Khidri dates are originally from Egypt but are nowadays grown mainly in KSA. They have a maroon-red color, smooth skin and medium-chewy texture. This date is mildly sweet and has a delicious caramel aftertaste. It is one of the most widely available date varieties, due to its robust tree that is stronger and more resistant to illnesses than other date palms. Due to its nice texture, they are often filled with nuts or dipped in chocolate as special treat.
Lahamiya dates have an intense, light brown color. They are very sweet and have a soft flesh.
Lulu dates are popular dates in the Middle East, cultivated in the South of Iran and the United Arab Emirates. They have a dark-brown color and they are small, with a handy round shape that reminds of a plum. They are soft, with a fleshy texture and a medium sweetness.
Mabroom dates are mainly grown in Saudi Arabia in the Western Peninsula.
They are maroon brown and have an elongated cone-shape. They are soft, moist and firm at the same time, with a mild sweetness and a natural caramel flavor.
The Mactoumi dates are grown in Saudi Arabia, at the foot of the Tuwaiq mountains. It is an old and rare variety, popular in the palaces of the Gulf regions. The Mactoumi date has a luxurious connotation as it resembles the name of the Emirati royal family Al-Mactoum.
The Mactoumi date has a dark reddish-brown skin. It is a small date with a soft and chewy texture. This date is neither too sweet, nor too bold. It has a mild and fruity taste.
Mazafati dates are among the dates with the highest quality in the world. As they need particular climate conditions, they are almost exclusively cultivated in Persia, in the region of Bam.
They have a reddish-dark brown color, smooth skin and a very soft and creamy texture. They are sweet and have a fruity twist.
Madjool is one of the most famous dates varieties world-wide, as the date is also well known in the USA and Europe. Madjool dates are also knows as the "King of Dates" due to its large size and firm flesh. The Madjool dates originally come from Morocco and are nowadays mainly cultivated in Jordan, KSA and California, USA.
It has a reddish dark brown color, is moist and fleshy and has a moderately sweet and nutty flavor. If enjoyed as Ruthab date (semi-ripe) the date is extremely juicy.
Monief dates have a yellowish-brown skin and a long and oval shape. They are soft and fleshy with a sweet flavour.
The color of Muttawa dates range from dark to light brown. They have a moderate sweetness are medium chewy and resemble Ajwa dates, but are distinctly different due to the missing white lines on the bottom.
Nabout Ali dates have an oval shape with a yellow color at the top that fades into a soft brown-colored base. They have a firm texture and a sweet taste. It is not a very common varieity..
The Nabout Salma date is round and has a dark-brown color. It has slightly wrinkled skin and a medium-chewy flesh with a gentle sweetness.
Nabout Seif is a dark brown date with a loose, wrinkeled skin and a chewy flesh. The taste ist moderately sweet with flavor notes of honey.
Neghal dates are the earliest ripening dates in the UAE and Oman. They are mostly eaten fresh from May onwards. The ripe date is maroon brown, has a medium size and a firm yet tender flesh with a mild sweetness.
Piarom also known as Maryami dates are cultivated in the mountains and irrigated basin areas in Southern Iran, mainly in Hajiabad city of Hormozgan province. The Piarom date has a dark-brown color and a long, oval shape. The skin is very thin and fully attached to the flesh, which results in a desirable appreance. They have an unique sweet taste that reminds of toffee and caramel.
Rabbi dates exclusivly grow in Iran, mainly in Sistan and Baluchestan province.
They have a reddish-black color, a long and oval shape, a thin skin and a small core. They are very sweet and juicy.
Roshadia dates are yellow brown and oval-shaped. They have soft flesh and a mild sweetness.
Rothan dates are round with a light brown color. They have a soft and dry flesh and a mild sweetness.
The Safawi date is cultivated in Madinah and the Yanbu regions in Saudi Arabia.
It has a dark-purple almost black color, an oval shape and is medium-sized. Safawi dates have a full-bodied taste and are delicately sweet, with a soft and moist texture.
Sagai dates are mainly grown in Saudi Arabia. They are famous for their two-tone color. They have a yellow to golden brown appearance and a unique texture, with a crispy top and a soft and mildly sweet flesh.
The Sayer date is also referred to as Estameran date. Sayer dates are cultivated in various countries amongst them Saudi Arabia, Persia, Egypt and India. It is one of the most popular dates in Iran, a date know for its high quality.
The Sayer date is dark brown, with an amber simmer and oval shape. It has a soft texture and a sweet flavor.
Sheshe dates have a light brown appearance, with a golden ring around the base. The skin is rather thick and the texture slightly dry. This date has a subtle flavour of brown sugar and yet is not overly sweet. They originate from Saudi Arabia.
The Sifiri date has a light brown color and a cylindrical shape. It has a smooth and firm skin and moderate sweetness.
The Silaj date has a dark maroon color and an elongated shape. It has a smooth and slightly creased skin and is mildly sweet.
Siri dates have a reddish-brown skin, an oblong shape and thin, smooth skin. The flesh of this date is firm and very sweet.
Siwa dates are cultivated in the Siwa Oasis, located in western Egypt. They have a light brown appearance, a soft texture and sweet taste.
Sokari dates are golden brown, often very light yellowish. Two varieties exist, the soft light brown date and the crispy, almost dry appearing yellowish-brown fruit. Connaisseurs appreciate the crispy, light-brown fruit, that has changed its consistency due the the natural sugar crystallization process that took place within the fruit during the ripening. The Sokari date is among the favorite Date varieties on the Arabian Peninsula, and it is mostly served with Qahwa (Arabic Coffee). Sokari means "the sweet one" in Arabic. However, it is only medium sweet.
This date is dark brown and round. It has a tender and chewy texture that reminds of a rasin, with a medium sweet caramelized taste.
UM AL HAMAM
The Um Al Hamam date is long, has an oval shape and a reddish brown skin. The flesh is soft and very sweet.
The Wanan date is a dark brown fruit, with very juicy flesh. It is sweet and soft, and therefore perfect for baking recipes, or to be filled with nuts and candied fruits. When held against the light, Wanna dates show small dark dots on their skin, similar to vanilla seeds. A characteristic on skin pigmentation that till today can not be explained. Wanan dates are quite a new variety, that came into existence as a hybrid date. It started accidentally growing on date farms where the pollination seemingly went wrong. But the date farmers quickly recognized the great tasting notes of this date and started cultivating it.
Zahedi dates originate in Iran and word for word translated, Zahedi means "of small quantity". This date grows in most tropical cities of Iran but it is mainly cultivated in Fars and Kerman provinces.
Zahedi dates have a yellow-golden color with a fleshy texture. They are not too sweet in taste. In Iran the Zahedi date can be considered as the most frequently used date. They are often used for cooking and baking purposes.