Assouline, the prestigious luxury publishing house, has recently released two exceptional books that provide a captivating look into the culture and traditions of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Dates: A Portrait of the Sacred Fruit and Saudi Coffee: The Culture of Hospitality both offer unique perspectives on the country’s most prized commodities.

Saudi Dates: A Portrait of the Sacred Fruit

Courtesy of Assouline

This book explores the many facets of dates, the sacred fruit that symbolizes hospitality, national pride, and time-honoured traditions in Saudi Arabia. Featuring stunning original photography by Oliver Pilcher, vivid illustrations by Rafael Alterio, and imagery by Ayoub Alsuhaibani, this book takes readers on a journey through the history, cultivation, and preparation of this beloved fruit.

Date palms are a ubiquitous sight across the sweeping landscapes of Saudi Arabia, yielding the sacred fruit and serving as a welcome refuge. Revered in the region for providing shelter and sustenance, the palm tree holds a special place in the hearts of many. The world’s largest date palm oasis, a UNESCO Heritage site, can be found in Saudi Arabia, a testament to the country’s great pride in this cherished fruit, which also makes for an excellent complement to coffee.

Courtesy of Assouline

Saudi Coffee: The Culture of Hospitality

Courtesy of Assouline

Similarly, Saudi Coffee: The Culture of Hospitality delves into the rich coffee culture of the region, from the seedling to the final refreshment. This book showcases striking original photography by Oliver Pilcher, vivid illustrations by Rafael Alterio, and imagery by Ibrahim Sarhan, Mohammed Albaijan, and Dhafer Alshehri, providing readers with an immersive experience of the world of Saudi coffee.

Like dates, coffee holds a special significance as a symbol of hospitality, national pride, and longstanding traditions. The time-honoured methods of serving coffee in Saudi Arabia carry deep cultural significance and are crucial to ensuring guests receive the warmest welcome possible.

Both books were created in collaboration with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Culture and are the latest additions to the Saudi Arabia series, inviting readers to experience the nation’s many wonders. These books are a must-read for anyone interested in learning about the traditions and cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia.

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Rand Al-Hadethi is an art, culture, and fashion writer who approaches all her creative endeavours with a penchant for storytelling. She explores the intersection of fashion, culture, and society and sheds light on talent and cultural movements across the Middle East and the world. Rand also publishes a bi-monthly themed substack newsletter called WebWeaver™. To reach Rand, email her at or follow her on social media @rundoozz.