Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Basket Creations, $4.75 / 16oz with extra dates
Native to the area around Iraq, the date palm has spread around the world thanks to its rich, sticky fruits and an ability to thrive in deserts. First introduced to North America's southwest in the 1760s, the trees were subsequently planted by orchardists in arid regions of Nevada, California, and Arizona. But despite the high quality of their products, the domestic market for dates has generally been lukewarm.
One bump in popularity came in the 1930s, when Russ Nichol, owner of a roadside stand in the California desert, discovered that dates are a delicious addition to milkshakes. Since the hot, dry areas where dates grow best are also great spots for a winter vacation, date shakes became a must-try refreshment.
As the sunniest spot on earth, Yuma Arizona is both an ace date producer, and the kind of place where a milkshake makes a great lunch. At Bard Date company's downtown storefront, Basket Creations, date shakes are available with your choice of ice cream and in either smooth or chunky formats. Both are flavored with date puree, but the chunky version also includes a handful of roughly chopped dates that sink to the bottom of the cup and swell up as they soak in the dregs of melted ice cream, turning into a kind of accidental custard.
Not in date country? It's easy to whip up your own date shake by soaking chopped dates in a little boiling water until soft and then blending them into a smooth paste that you can for topping or blending with vanilla ice cream.
245 S Main St
928 / 341-9966