Dates and Kinship in the Middle East

Dates... the staple food in the Middle East

The Middle East prides itself on its friendliness toward strangers. Across borders, the customs of hospitality are similar, which boils down mostly to how well they can feed their guests. Whether it's paying for everything in a restaurant or cooking more food than could be consumed, Arabs show their generosity and affection through food.


Visitors can expect unique dishes depending on the country they are visiting. There are plenty of traditional Middle Eastern dishes to savor, from slow-cooked stew lamb to grilled squab which is usually home-cooked. Arab hosts offer guests the best that they have and put love and appreciation into their meal.

Dates as dessert

When it comes to dessert, it's a case of the sweeter, the better. Sticky-sweet, oval-shaped dates are an essential part of Arab life and tied to the place and people, culturally and religiously. The fruit is eaten fresh, just after harvest, and dried for the rest of the year. They can also be prepared in different ways such as fillings for shortbread pastries or stuffed with almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, cheese, or lemon peel.

Dates and coffee

Arabs encourage their guests to remain after the meal and extend the conversation over coffee and dates. Coffee is a traditional symbol of hospitality in the Middle East, and hosts take real pride in the quality of the coffee they serve. Gathering over coffee for hours builds trust and shows respect and value. The pairing of bitter coffee with a sweet date also creates the perfect bitter-sweet taste for unwinding and connecting.

Anyone can try entertaining Middle Eastern-style by serving a table full of food, putting out sweet dates, and pouring coffee for lingering long after the meal. Slow down time and live in the moment with Energy Dates from 7D VARIETY.