Assouline, a luxury publisher, has recently released two new books in its Saudi series, namely "Saudi Dates: A Portrait of the Sacred Fruit" and "Saudi Coffee: The Culture of Hospitality," in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture in Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Dates: A Portrait of the Sacred Fruit,” by Mohammed Bin Ismail Al-Ismail, examines the fruit's numerous qualities. Images by Saudi photographer Ayoub Alsuhaibani are added to the original photos by photographer and author Oliver Pilcher and drawings by painter Rafael Alterio.
The world's largest date palm oasis, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located in Saudi Arabia. About 400 different varieties of dates are produced throughout the country. This book emphasizes the fruit’s variety of uses and the Kingdom’s thriving industry. Within is a traditional Saudi recipe for date biscuits. A national favorite, dates are the perfect complement to coffee.
Coffee holds a special place in Saudi culture, symbolizing hospitality, national pride, and time-honored traditions. Mainly grown in the southwest region of the country, coffee beans are carefully nurtured, harvested, and roasted using methods unique to each region, resulting in a diverse range of flavors and aromas.
Maher Raed Al-Nammary's latest book, "Saudi Coffee: The Culture of Hospitality," a new addition to Assouline's Classics Collection, examines Saudi Arabia's coffee culture from seedling to refreshment and delves into its lengthy past as a symbol in the region. Al-Nammary is a Saudi chef, hospitality expert, and gourmet instructor who wants to use cuisine and art to cross cultural barriers and promote understanding.
In a news statement, the author explains: “Coffee is a staple across the globe as a warm beverage to start the morning or the perfect pairing with dessert. In Saudi Arabia, coffee is a symbol. A symbol of hospitality, a symbol of national pride and a symbol of time-honored traditions.” And so, over the course of 216 pages, readers are taken on a voyage to learn how, depending on the area in which they are grown, gathered, and roasted, coffee beans can have a variety of tastes and aromas.
The volume contains unique photographs by Oliver Pilcher, illustrations by Rafael Alterio, and images by Ibrahim Sarhan, Mohammed Albaijan, and Dhafer Alshehri, highlighting the splendors of Saudi Arabia and the distinctive ways of offering coffee in the country, which are entwined with the treasured heritage of hospitality.
Both books are priced at $105 USD and are available for purchase on Assouline's website.