Saturday, 6 June 2009

Balsamic with a twist

Dates are undoubtly Oman's greatest gastronomic gift. The minute we arrived in Oman, several people made it very clear to us that dates are important to the Omani and that Omani dates are the best. And don't try to start an argument about that. We know now that they were right. Omani dates are lovely, and at this time of year we'll start to see the fresh dates again. They are a treat.

Dates can be found almost anywhere, and there even is a true Date Gourmet Shop in the Oasis at the Sea mall in Shatti, called Bateel. Granted, it is not Omani of origin, but they sell nice stuff nevertheless. They sell dates, of course, but also a range of date-inspired products. One of those is a Date Balsamic Vinegar. There are two versions, a 6-year old and a 10-year old. Both are fine vinegars. Syrupy and sweet, with singing acidity. The 10-year old version is a bit thicker and more complex, but the difference isn't enormous. These are not vinegars that you will use any day of the week. For one, they are simply to thick to use on your average salad. But try a drop with some Parmesan (the real one!) It's a great combination. You can also use it to complete a fine dish. The 6-year old costs 5.000 OMR per bottle (100ml). Not exactly cheap, but good balsamic always comes at a price.


  1. Omani Dates have an amazing flavour and texture; in MHO better than Bateels – I love the date harvest; heres an article I wrote for Arab News (just over 3mb to download)

  2. Thanks for the link to the article. Very interesting!