The UAE ranks fifth among the world’s leading producers of dates as of 2016.
Currently, there are 44 million date palms in the country and with 199 different varieties.
But more than just a crop, the date fruit is deeply embedded in local culture because of its role in providing sustenance to Bedouins and early settlers.
It even has religious significance as it has been mentioned quite a few times in the Quran.
And helping keep the fruit’s tradition alive is The Date Room – the local company engaged in the business of producing and manufacturing homegrown dates here and abroad.
Its line of products in the market includes plain and stuffed dates, chocolate-dipped dates, date cookies and cakes, dates muffin, jam, and more.
We catch up with executive director, Tony Al Saiegh, to find out more about the brand and why the date is an integral part of the country’s identity.
Can you tell us more about The Date Room?
The Date Room is a luxury brand with a line of dates-based products ranging from plain dates to filled dates to baked items. The dates we use in our products are farmed in our private farms in Al Ain and the Northern Emirates, planted and then produced with strict quality checks – the same quality control we employ to process dates for family use.
What inspired you to establish The Date Room?
Our families had been enjoying these dates for years, the quality, the taste and the benefits. So we thought why don’t we utilise our years of experience, quality, our farms and our love for the concept and go commercial.
Since the production volume allows us to actually go commercial. We started studying the idea, planned it effectively, built the brand and then we launched in the market.
We were always confident that this would be a success as dates are among the most popular fruits in the UAE.
Why is it important to preserve the fruit’s tradition?
The dates are one of the traditions that come with an endless line of benefits and features – health-related benefits, the taste, the variety, and most importantly, the by-products that it can produce.
Preserving this tradition keeps a great line of healthy variety and amazing treats at our homes that we can enjoy with our families and people around us.
I’d call it a work of art. The creativity and process of creating and making gifts, treats baked items that we see our customers and chefs make, makes this traditional simple fruit an art.
What makes the brand different from other manufacturers?
We have our own private farms. Each tree and date gets the care it needs to be of the best quality. We plant and process our dates and all the products that comes with the same quality and taste that we’ve been doing for our own families for years.
How do you maintain freshness and quality of the dates?
Storing the dates at the temperature of four degrees can keep it fresh for up to a year, while keeping it at a room temperature of 18-23 degrees can keep it fresh for up to three months.
What are the benefits of dates health-wise?
Dates are high in fiber, a great natural sweetener, are full in nutrition, have disease-fighting antioxidants, are rich in iron and protein, and most importantly, are a great source of energy.
How vital is the dates in UAE culture?
It’s a solid part of the culture and community, whether it’s the tree itself at homes and in the streets, or the fruit that it produces.
There are no meals, no gatherings and no occasions that can go on without dates. This doesn’t only apply to Emiratis but all residents of the UAE.
For more information, visit thedateroom.ae