Every year, without fail the arrival of large and small boxes wrapped in shiny paper and colourful ribbons, full of crunchy nuts and rich dry fruits signals the start of the festive season. From ancient times when Mesopotamian cultures sun dried dates and dry figs to the dried apricots, prunes, sultanas, cranberries and nuts of today, humans across the world have been preserving and savouring fruit and nuts for eons.
Dried fruit have always signified the best one can offer a guest or a loved one. Dry fruits and nuts have always been a household mainstay during diwali time. But that doesn’t always have to be badam, kaju, and pista. This festive season create and set out an assortment of dried fruit in a variety of textures and flavours. Go beyond the usual and try something new.
Set out a lovely dry fruit platter adorned with colourful gems of dried blueberries, cranberries, Turkish dates stuffed with chocolate and hazelnuts, and a range of chocolate-coated nuts is a new and modern twist on traditional favorite. It is sure to impress friends and family if presented as a festive guest and will keep your household guests munching.Try mixing nuts and dry fruit up and serving in unusual ways, pair roasted almonds with sour cranberries, salted pistachios with Turkish apricots, candied walnuts and raisins, add chocolate covered raisins, slivers of dried apricots and dates stuffed with nuts together on a platter to serve up to loved ones.
Move past roasted and salted nuts and experiment with flavouring hazelnuts, cashewnuts, macademias with your signature flavours. Some popular options include black pepper-honey, rosemary-parmesan, cinnamon-brown sugar to name a few. Simply coat the nuts in the mix and bake till crisp.
Add colour to our gift baskets with dry fruit in colours of the rainbow… tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, papaya and kiwi are available dried and candied. The sheer range in colour, texture and flavour is mind boggling. Great to eat by themselves add to a muesli for breakfast or as a surprise burst of flavour in salads. Play around with the flavours of delicious dried fruit by pairing them with ingredients like meat or vegetables in savoury dishes. Lamb and apricots is a good combination as are dried cherries and chicken. Or add rich flavor to desserts. The sweetness and texture of dried fruits like apricots, dates, cranberries, raisins work wonderfully in chutneys, compotes and preserves which pair wonderfully with ice cream, cake, as filling for pies and tarts.
Apart from being served as a delicious snack, exotic dried berries like cranberries, blueberries and apricots can be incorporated very well into modern and creative diwali sweets. Phirni is a dessert that is a lot more versatile than it may seem, and it lends itself very well to Indian trifles. For elegant and colourful plated desserts at diwali dinner parties make trifles with layers of phirni, cranberries, blueberries and apricots, in shot glasses, and top them off with a few chopped nuts.
For the gourmands among your loved ones, a selection of roasted nuts by Planters, Tong Garden or our very own Le Exclusif range would be a thoughtful and cherished gift. We also have gift hampers created around dried fruit for gifting friends that are far away this season. Have more dried fruits than you know what to do with? Combine it with oats for a homemade muesli or soak in rum or brandy for a boozy fruitcake or Christmas pudding. After all Christmas is just around the corner isn’t it? Godrej Natures Basket.