Alejandra is the managing editor of California.com. She's a California native based in the Bay Area and enjoys writing about all things food and travel related. Her work can also be seen in Diablo, T…See full bio
We’ve all been there: sitting in front of our computer screens in the late afternoon, trying to muster the energy to complete the last items on our to-do list before the end of the workday and pondering whether or not we’ll actually do our at-home workout later. I’ve found myself in this situation more than I care to admit—especially during this topsy-turvy year—but luckily, I recently discovered a new afternoon pick-me-up that’s helped me beat that 3 p.m. feeling: Magic Dates.
I know, I know; you might be thinking, Eww, I don’t like dates—don’t shy away just yet. Magic Dates are bound to put a spell on you. These bad boys pack a punch of flavor and give you the energy you need to dominate your to-do list and any after-work exercise routine. Wondering what makes them so magical? The energizing bites combine the sweet power of dates with nutrient-dense, all-natural ingredients; best of all, they’re so delicious you wouldn’t even know they’re good for you. This is exactly what Diana Jarrar intended when she founded Magic Dates in 2017.
Jarrar grew up eating dates; they were a staple in her home in Damascus, Syria. Her mother would serve them at dinner every night, and that positive association stuck with Jarrar when she moved to Los Angeles as an adult. Dissatisfied with the options of sugar-laden date products on the market, she took matters into her own hands and created Magic Dates as a body-nourishing and plant-powered alternative, first selling them out of a humble stall at the Brentwood Farmers Market. Now, they’re available in grocery stores around L.A. as well as online.
While the taste and quality alone should be enough to entice you to try Magic Dates, the company also reflects that innovative and philanthropic spirit California is known for, so you can feel good about eating them, too. Jarrar is passionate about creating wholesome products that satisfy our need for something sweet but don’t wreak havoc on our bodies; she strives to be a part of the solution to the problems in our food system and uses solely clean, sustainably grown ingredients—the dates are grown in the Coachella Valley and the vast majority of the other ingredients are sourced from California farms. She also believes that every person should be given the tools and resources to share their magic with the world, so Magic Dates works with the Karam Foundation, an organization that aims to build a better future for Syrian youth.
It’s obvious these snacks are made with—and promote—California love, but here’s what I really thought when I tried Jarrar’s Magic Dates.
While I don’t mind dates, I wouldn’t say I eat them very often, and when I do, they’re usually stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon. So, I was intrigued (but slightly apprehensive) to try the assortment of Magic Dates I received. Two of the flavors were from the Original Line, while the three others were from the Chocolate-Covered Line. As you might have guessed, the varieties in the latter line were draped in dark chocolate and looked especially appetizing, making my mouth water instantly.
But the best part? When I looked at the label, I was pleasantly surprised by the nutritional information. As promised, no sugar is added and all of the ingredients are natural (you can actually recognize and pronounce them all) as well as non-GMO, vegan, and dairy-free. Plus, the snacks are packed with prebiotics that promote gut health; I had no idea there were so many health benefits of dates—they are rich in antioxidants, micronutrients, fiber, and vitamin B. I couldn’t wait to dive in. Here’s our Magic Dates review.
Lemon: Thanks to the fresh, invigorating scent, I was transported back to summer days immediately upon opening the bag. The fragrance was also reminiscent of freshly baked lemon scones—it already seemed like a winner. And it was. This slightly sweet, vibrant flavor features nice pops of lemon that’ll perk you up and make your taste buds dance.
Chocolate: Surprisingly, this didn’t have a strong chocolate flavor or scent. I’d say it was the least exciting out of the Magic Dates I tried and was slightly dry, but if you’re looking for a more traditional and sweeter option, you may love this one.
Chocolate: This chocolate variety is much different than the one in the Original Line. It’s much more decadent and indulgent—almost like a chocolate truffle—so you’ll likely be satisfied with just one (but if you want to eat more, we won’t judge).
Hazelnut: Nutella fans, this one’s for you. While the hazelnut flavor isn’t super strong, it’s present enough to perfectly complement the bitterness of the dark chocolate, resulting in a beautifully complex and delightfully rich snack.
Coconut: This flavor is absolutely delicious and is bound to be a favorite among coconut aficionados like myself. It tasted similar to Mounds, which was my grandmother’s favorite candy, so it immediately made me think of her—it was a great reminder of the power of food and its ability to evoke fond memories. Another colleague said it was so good that it made her pause and just close her eyes to savor the moment. So, beware: You may just want to unwind and escape to somewhere tropical after you eat this one.
Magic Dates are now my go-to afternoon and pre-workout snack. (And when I’m ready to go on my post-holiday diet, they’ll probably become my guilt-free dessert.) They’re a perfect size and very satisfying even in small quantities; I’m honestly satiated after eating just one of these energy bites, and it’s enough to help me conquer the rest of my day—without the sugar crash. I also love what the company stands for and appreciate that these healthy treats are vegan, made with local ingredients, and contain zero added sugar.
If you’re still feeling squeamish about the date thing, trust me: Magic Dates are so good that you’ll forget all about any aversion you have to the sweet fruit. (Even my mother, who is one of the most finicky eaters I know and doesn’t normally like dates, ended up loving these energizing bites after I made her try them.)
In sum: It’s impossible to eat Magic Dates and not feel happy. The blend of California-grown dates with walnuts, coconut, cacao, and other natural ingredients delivers a chewy, crunchy, and sweet bite with just a touch of Himalayan salt to satisfy any craving, boost your spirits, and add a touch of magic to your life. So, go get yourself a bag (or three), STAT.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Note: This product was independently reviewed by California.com. We did not receive compensation for writing this review.
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