Sunday, July 31, 2022

Shields Date Garden - Date Taste Test - 6 different varieties

Just a couple days ago we were at the Shields Date Garden in Palm Springs, learning all about how dates are grown and harvested. And who knew how many different varieties of dates existed! 

We've done Apple Taste Tests a few different times, and Orange Taste Tests, but today we're going to be trying 6 different types of Dates! Halawi, Honey, Zahidi, Blonde, Royal Medjools, and Deglet Noors.  

I was happy to see that Shields sold a variety pack with multiple kinds. Between the two packages (~$15 each) the Deglet Noor was repeated, plus there was a Coconut Date confection as well. 

Everyone gathered around the dining room table for the taste test. 

I separated the fruit from the pits that were inside and cut pieces for everyone to sample.  

Someone isn't too excited for this one. He didn't particularly care for the dates back at the Date Garden. 

Royal Medjool
Royal Medjools are supposed to be the best. That's the one that everyone talks about. Might as well start with those. 
It's like a chewy candy. 
Joe - It's very gummy. 
Theresa - It reminds me of an adult flavored raisin. Like, take a raisin and add a more complex flavor. 
Jacob - It's chewy. 
Joe - I don't like it all soft and squishy. 

Deglet Noor
Theresa - It's firmer. 
Jacob - Lots firmer. 
Ian - Better than the Medjools. 
Joe - I like the texture a lot better than the Medjools. 
Theresa - It's a more mild flavor. 
Joe - They're different, but not that different. 
Theresa - Like eating a red raisin and a white raisin. 
Jacob - I like the complexity of this flavor. But it's mild. 
Theresa - It's a lot drier than the others. 
Jacob - They look a little like a bug's shell. 

Zahidi Date
Theresa - That one is not my favorite. 
Jacob - The flavor is not so good. It's weird. 
Theresa - And the texture isn't good. 
Jacob - I don't like the starting flavor, but it's got a very sweet aftertaste. 
Theresa - It's got a bitterness to it. 

Honey Dates
This one is the most appealing name. 
Joe - Hey Ian, honey comes from bees, right? 
Ian - Yes. 
Joe - I tried to make honey one time, but no matter how much I squished and ground up those bees it did not taste good. 
Ian - Daddy....
Theresa - Out of all of them, that tastes the most like honey. 
Joe - It's got a Royal Medjool texture. 
Jacob - I like it better than the Zahidi. 
Theresa - I like all of them better than the Zahidi. 

Halawi Date 
Theresa - Very soft!
Jacob - It's a subtle flavor.
Theresa - Really? I'm getting a strong flavor. Like coffee. Or salted caramel. 
Jacob - Not coffee flavor, cause I would hate that. 
Joe - I don't know why you two are getting such different flavors. 
I cut up a single date and gave them each half. 
Theresa - That is strong.
Jacob - That is subtle. 
Joe - Haha. How are you each getting such differences. 
Theresa - That's in a race with Zahidi. 
Ian - I don't like it. I get a salted caramel from it. 
Joe - I don't get salted caramel or coffee from it. 
Theresa - I might like the Halawi flavor better than the Royal Medjool now. 

Blonde Date
Ian - Next up is the Blonde Date. It's the last date and I'm hoping it's the best date. 
Jacob - You can only buy them at Shields. It's unique to them. 
Theresa - I think it's good.  
Joe - It's more like a gummy. 
Jacob - I like it. I don't love it. The texture isn't good on it. 
Ian - Worst one of all! 
Theresa - Really? I thought it might be the best one of all. 
Alli - It's too sweet. 

Six different varieties. How different can they be? Turns out they can be quite different! 
Now that we've gone through them all, they need to be tasted again and compared more closely to each other. 

Time for rankings 

Theresa - I've got my bottom three, but my top three are hard to figure out. Zahidi is at the bottom. 
Joe - I didn't like the Zahidi or the Royal Medjools. The textures for me aren't great. 
Theresa - I'm struggling with my top three. None of them are amazing, but I could eat them all. 

Here's the favorites. 
Ian - Zahidi, Deglet Noor, Royal Medjool. 
Alli - My favorite is probably the Delight Noor (you mean Deglet Noor), Royal Medjool, Zahidi
Joe - Blonde, Honey, Halawi, Deglet Noor, Medjool, then Zahidi. For me it was a texture thing, followed my flavor. 
Theresa - Blonde, Honey, Deglet Noor, Royal, Halawi, Zahidi. Just don't put Zahidi in my life ever again and I can be happy. 
Jacob - Honey, Blonde, Royal, Deglet Noor, Halawi, Zahidi

Theresa - I was surprised the Royal Medjool wasn't so good. 
Jacob - It's odd how that's all you can find in the stores. 

And the Date Confection? It was interesting. Like a paste. No real texture to it at all.
Jacob - It's like they took the extra pieces and mushed them all together. 
Joe - I like the real dates better than this. 

My Sister-in-Law Megan had mentioned she loves dates, so I made sure to send her a picture of what we were trying. She suggested we taste them again, but with cream cheese. Theresa said that we shouldn't trust her judgement since she's also a fan of banana flavored things. 

I went to the fridge and found cream cheese. Let's give this a shot. 
Cut out the pit and fill it with cheese. 
Jacob - Like a stuffed date!

Ugh, awful. Megan, you are horrible. 

Kidding of course.
Theresa - It's better than a regular date, but that's because it has cream cheese! Toast. Add cream cheese! Bagel. Add cream cheese! Cake. Add cream cheese! Everything is better with cream cheese. 
Jacob - Mix the flavors up in your mouth. Then it combines well. 

Theresa - I have eaten way more dates tonight than I intended to. 
This was a fun taste test to do! Who knew how different they could be! 

1 comment:

  1. had me going with that initial photo of combining cream cheese + a date...I was laughing out loud then I saw the "just kidding" comment!...guess the cream cheese helped save the taste test :-) Interesting the dates all tasted so different, and how one date type tasted so different to different people! "Squished up bees don't make for a good-tasting honey"...Ian definitely knows that :-) I like Alli's "Delight" Noor name! Hearing Jacob say, "Looks like a little like a bug shell" would make me lose my appetite for that particular date fast :-) May not have been a favorite taste test for most of you, but it was interesting! EOM