I'm not really partial to dates. In their traditional form, they're not the most attractive fruit around are they? Not that I should be holding their appearance against them, but they are kind of unimpressive looking, all shriveled-up and prune-like (sorry prune, but you're not so hot either). Sure, they're sweet, but so is every other fruit on the market.
Right now, dates are everywhere in Bahrain, plain dates, nut-filled dates, chocolate coated dates (white/milk/dark - take your pick) and the other day I also saw some coffee filled ones. As dates go, these spruced-up dates (from what I've tasted) are certainly good. But to be honest, I've usually eaten dates more out of a sense of tradition than enjoyment. This has changed since I discovered the Barhi variety. These dates are crisp in texture and as un-shriveled and un-prune-like as you can get. Now, I'm eating dates because I love them. The Barhi seems to be really popular in the Middle East, you buy them on the stalk and they kind of look like a bunch of grapes. Delicious, and with their high nutritional value, how can I go wrong with this indulgence? So this entry is my shout out to the humble date...the Barhi date to be precise. (Hmmm, Perhaps I should start lobbying for a 'Big-Pineapple' inspired 'Big-Barhi' in Bahrain, I think it could be a winner with the locals ;) )
Gargaon update: I didn't witness any Gargaon action, I did however have a little Gargaon surprise waiting for me when I got to work the next day. A box full box of goodies – chocolates, nuts and dry fruit, a little oil lamp and a doll. There was no card attached but it didn't take me long to figure out that the mystery gift-giver was my Bahraini friend - the one who educated me on Gargaon to begin with. When I went to thank her for her thoughtfulness, she said she wanted to share some Gargaon treats with my daughter and I. Nice:) )
My Bahraini friend is actually the main receptionist at the office I work at. She speaks English relatively well, not perfectly - but she gets by. She greets everyone each morning with a huge smile and a "Sabah hal Khair" (Good morning). Even through recent, brief bouts of adversity (a tooth infection and sprained ankle) she's kept smiling. She's a gem.