Dates are a popular staple item for breaking fast and Islamic holidays, irrespective of what culture and geographic locations Muslims belong to. But this old-as-time fruit with all its health benefits and culinary versatility has been making its way in cuisines all over the world. Beyond just snacking on raw dates and used as a natural sweetener, creative chefs have played with this yum delight to make exotic sweet and savory delicacies, infusing the compelling flavor of this luxurious produce with variety of others to come up with some outclass sumptuous goodies. One such artist is a local friend who has poured her love of cooking and baking into many a food items successfully and has specifically refined her skills in making delectable treats from this ancient fruit! She recently opened her business called “Dates Curated By Atto”. She shared with me the gift box and our family enjoyed the lip-smacking goodies heartily. Each piece has a unique flavor imbued with the irresistible taste particular to the date itself, making each bite an enjoyable sensory experience.
When I received the flavorful gift box, I had to but photograph this beauty! I styled up a little something to present the festive goodies. Here are some pictures I took of the dates and the pudding, and other accompaniments I thought would enrich the experience.
Here is what she related to me when I asked about her journey of finding this passion:
“My name is Attiyah – Atto for short. For as long as I remember I was always driven with the sights, sounds & delicious aromas coming from my mother’s and grandma’s kitchen. My Nani had a prized American cookbook gifted by my grandfather that contained many novel recipes and as an avid cook, she’d whipped up pastries, cakes, shepherd pies, eclairs, cookies, sauces and all. This particular faded green color hardcover cookbook had a whole section on the art of confectionery from how to make fudge to chocolates and wrapping candies. Being a fine art student evoked my passion of making my own Artisan sweet treats & my aesthetic sense is showcased in my culinary skills. From a young age I have been exposed to different cuisines, which has seasoned my palate globally. I chose to work with dates in particular as eating it is a Sunnah and they make a healthy treat – since my boys didn’t enjoy eating plain dates, I started adding flavors or sneaking them into brownies (super sneaky mom here – lol). I like to pair food with memories, so many of the flavors that I offer have a distinct memory, like “Apriconia” – one of our Date Truffle is named after a dessert my sister made in her college and won first prize!
Memories need to be relived and food is a great medium and an effective trigger of deeper memories of feelings and emotions. Food brings people together – it’s a shared experience. My boys and I love creating memories in our small kitchen, especially my younger one, who has Autism & loves making brownies, cookies & enjoys drizzling the dates with chocolate or sprinkling nuts. Observing his interest inspired me to start this small cottage business as a means for him to gain skills to support himself independently and at the same time for creating our own special memories. Thank you for supporting our son and I, in exploring new ways of doing things. It certainly takes a village to make dreams come true!”
I think this was one of the most humbly written account, done in a most heartfelt way! Those of you who know me or follow my blog probably know that I have a son with autism. Attiyah was one of the first persons in special needs community who welcomed me when we moved to Dallas, so this brings home a lot for me. I am so excited for this business!
THE GIFT BOX – What is in the box?
While Attiyah offers variety of choices for her clients to pick from, the gift box is a really best-seller. It contains six dates, each with a unique flavor, a sticky date pudding cake along with homemade caramel sauce with a finger-licking quality to it.
Flavors for the dates:
I loved how she has named the flavors!! How creative ~
Since her products make wonderful food items and gifts all the year around, not limited to Ramadan, Eid, or certain season, I looked up some variety of hot and cold beverages to serve them any time of the year. Mint tea and espresso seemed like a great pairing when serving these goodies for an after-dinner dessert time. Golden milk or turmeric milk (my favorite recipe here) is also a great one especially when opening fast. I also liked the strawberry smoothie (Vitamix recipe) and sahlab, a Middle Eastern milk drink (recipe here) to serve along with the dates in summers.
The sticky date pudding, their signature item is best served slightly warmed up with scoop or two of vanilla ice-cream and a drizzle of magic sauce to complete the experience!
You can see more variety and choices on their social media. Follow Dates Curated by Atto on Instagram and like her page. Place your order for your favorite flavors and items by contacting her directly on these accounts all the year round. Add an amazing dish to your party or find a thoughtful gift for a friend, family or employee!