Dates, chocolates and sweets
You’ll find a feast of edible souvenirs in Abu Dhabi, including delicious Arabic sweets made from pastry, honey, ground nuts and dates. Chocolate made from camels' milk is a luxurious treat with a smooth texture and a unique flavour that comes from blending camel milk with vanilla, honey and cocoa beans. It’s sold in bars, pralines and as camel-shaped figurines, and is available from many souvenir shops, as well as supermarkets such as Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society, LuLu Hypermarket and Emirates General Market. For something more savoury, Iranian caviar is widely available and good value for money, as it is sold without import duty or any added tax.
Dates form an important element of Arab culture. Perhaps the most classic edible souvenir, this distinctive fruit holds an important place in Arabian heritage as a vital source of nutrition. Today, dates are available in many modern varieties, with each having its own distinctive colour and flavour. They are even available dipped in chocolate or stuffed with almonds or candied orange peel. Bateel, the renowned dates delicatessen, has an impressive selection of luxury dates as well as other date produce, from sparkling date juice and date jams to preserves and even date-infused balsamic vinegar.
Held each year in Al Dhafra, the Liwa Date Festival promotes and celebrates the symbolic and historic role that the date palm plays in Emirati culture. The festival revolves around date competitions, in which Emirati farmers vie for the title of best date grower. Travellers from out of town are welcome to attend too, with this fun, family friendly event being an incredible way to experience authentic Emirati culture up close. Prizes are offered for the top dates in each category and a live date auction sells dates for over AED 6,000 per kilo.