What if we said there’s a new unique Iftar experience in town for you to try? This isn’t your usual Iftar where diners simply end their fast with delectable dishes, instead this experience takes visitors on a tour where they learn about everything they’re about to eat.
The Emirates Bio Farm, located halfway through Al Ain, around 80 kilometers away from Downtown Dubai, is one such place that is serving a unique Iftar experience and we tried it out.
The only concern is the drive as it can take up to an hour to arrive at the farm. But once you do, we assure you the sights are worth it. Emirates Bio Farm is the UAE’s largest organic farm, specialized in producing over 50 types of certified organic vegetables and fruits as well as eggs through the use of sustainable farming practices. That means the dishes we tried were prepared with the freshest organic products within 24 hours of being harvested.
But before you do, you’re entitled to a tour of the facility as part of the unique experience. We got to check out the farm shop featuring the locally grown produce, a greenhouse facility in which they grow high valued vegetable crops like tomatoes (vertically to maximise productivity), and acres of farmland that we toured via a tractor ride which is the highlight of the experience.
The farm tour takes place an hour before sunset, perhaps the perfect time to check out the farm and take in mesmerising views of the open lands during the golden hour. The breeze at that hour was the icing on the cake given how hot the temperature can get at this time of the year. Accompanied by a group of visitors from England, we were educated on all the crops that were grown in the field and the basics of farming by an expert tour guide Yazen Al Kodmani, who is also the Chief GM of Emirates Bio Farm. As a souvenir, we got to harvest our very own vegetables from the fields, so we returned with an aubergine, and also tried some freshly plucked mulberries that were ripe and juicy.
Also, little ones can enjoy themselves in a playing area that is placed right next to the chicken coop. Safe to say, the roosters and hens are super friendly, as are the cute goats and even cuter baby goats.
As the sun set, it was time to end our fasts and feast on traditional Ramadan dishes that are served with a farmer’s twist. There’s just something so peaceful about nature; we realised it when we constantly heard the roosters’ ‘cock-a-doodle-dos’ and the chirping of the birds as we indulged in the dining experience that takes place in a well-lit gazebo. Notably, the menu is seasonal, so whatever the Iftar menu offers is the current season’s produce from the organic farm.
To reiterate, Arabic Ramadan specials were served with a farmer’s twist in the sense that key meat items were replaced with the freshly produced organic ingredients from the farm. For example, the Kibbeh, which is usually stuffed with meat, was stuffed with pumpkin. As was the case with Shish Barak, the meat in the delicious dumplings cooked in garlic yogurt sauce were replaced with vegetables. But that doesn’t mean the taste was compromised, we still had a delectable experience trying the starters with a farmer’s twist.
But the highlight is undoubtedly the locally sourced Bedouin-style lamb dish, slow-cooked for over five hours in an earthen oven. The owners of the farm decided to include the unusual treat at their vegetables-only servings only as a Ramadan special. The succulent lamb is served with rice, a perfect pairing that sums up the Iftar treats. And in beverages, the freshly pressed organic beetroot juice did the job for us. But you can also try the carrot juice and green juice, made with all your important greens.
The Iftar experience at Emirates Bio Farm is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Not only it serves your favourite traditional Ramadan dishes, but also takes diners on a wonderful tour that teaches everything one needs to know of the ingredients they are going to consume.
Emirates Bio Farm is open for Iftar meals every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Packages are priced at Dh180 for adults and Dh80 for kids below 12 years of age, available for booking through the farm’s official website.
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