One of the oldest trees on the Arabian Peninsula, date palms are the principal fruit trees grown in Qatar. Packed with nutritional benefits, they have long been important in the region, with Qatar the sixteenth-largest date-producing country in the world.
Serving Arabic coffee and dates remains a symbolic expression of hospitality in Qatar. Sweet and sticky, date syrup has been used in eastern Arabia for centuries, and is extracted with a madbasa, a traditional date press.
Examples of these date presses can be seen in the town of Al Zubarah, revealing the importance of dates to Qatar’s early culture and economy, as well as for meeting the nutritional needs of the local population.