So far I have always been gulping on Lion dates. Why?No particular reason, except that my mother insisted that I have them to supplement iron in my body. I did not like their fibrous texture or their sweetness but I nevertheless had them, whenever I remembered my mom. But this time during Ramadan when the Russel market was flooded with dates, these making the journey from afar-South Africa,Iran, Saudi Arabia to name a few, my love affair with them began.
I first sighted them in the dingy market area of Shivajinagar. Black, soft and plump these tasted like a slice of chocolate. May be I exaggerate but they definitely tasted like a slice of heaven. After the Kimia dates I bit in to a Tunisian variety and lo I was hooked. Seedless dates, stuffed dates, chocolates stuffed with dates.. all lush, juicy and sweet.
The muslims may be breaking their fast with these dates but for a walker like me who has been exploring the market for the past three hours going past the century old heritage structures, clock towers and churches of Shivajinagar not to mention the oldest gujri market, think 120 years or more, the dates provided a welcome respite from the heat and the fatigue.
Dates are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber and are a great way to break a fast as it is high on natural sugar and gives the quick energy required for the muslims to do their sunset prayers. There are plenty more reasons why it is particularly used to break the Ramadan fast but that is for a later post.According to National Geographic report there are more than 3000 varieties of dates and you see a minimum of 64 varieties in Shivajinagar itself.