Luscious, intense, sweet, and relatively economical if you limit yourself to just one or two at a time. Medjool dates are one of several varieties of dates, the fruit of a date palm, that are considered to be amongst the more desirable. These particular dates were harvested not in the Middle East, where date discussions can go on and on and on, but on a farm in California, USA. Friends of ours returned from a trip recently and sent two boxes of these wonderful dates as pasalubongs. Yum. Date palms are believed to have originated in the oases of the Middle East. I can just picture a parched and starving traveler stumbling upon an oasis where there was water but nothing else to eat. In desperation, he spied his camel moseying on over to a bunch of wrinkled up fruits that had fallen from the nearby date palms and started munching on the the semi-dried fruits. The bedouin had a taste of one, and not hallucinating, he realized they were nearly as sweet as a jellied fruit from the La Maison du Chocolat branch that opened on the main strip of desertville some three thousand years ago…hahaha. Seriously, a good date is hard to find, and a blessing to receive. We eat them as is.
According to my Encyclopedia of Foods given to me years ago by a friend, and staff member of the Dole Company, Medjool dates are originally from Morocco, but a precious few plantations in Southern California also grow the esteemed date. I once spent several weeks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia consulting for a bank owned by a very prominent Saud prince, and just below our offices was one of the most stunning date shops I have ever seen. i don’t recall it’s name now, but I do recall that it had several dozen different varieties of dates on offer, and they were wrapped in boxes as though they were little bits of gold… everything I tasted at that shop was delicious. Now I just have to think of several ways to enjoy these Medjool dates, either chopped and added to my homemade granola together with some good yoghurt, or as part of a tagine, or even in a sinfully rich Food for the Gods (aka Date and Walnut Bars), but it seems a waste to bake with such luscious morsels!