This nutty thing is a huge bowl of argil, all sorts of nuts and died fruit. It is especially for the Winter Solstice, Shab e Yalda, on 21st December, for the Iranians, 1st of the month of Deh and first day of Winter as well as being the shortest day of the year, The selection you see in the photograph comprises walnuts, almonds, dried figs, buslogh, something like Turkish delight. It is ‘sweet’ argil, especially for Shab e Yalda, not salty such as the salty pistachios and salty almonds you can buy at other times of the year.

Tavazo or What to give at Christmas to an Iranian friend, by Caroline Fakhri

Tavazo, the Persian Patisserie 147 Ballards Lane Finchley N3 1LJ

What to give at Christmas to an Iranian friend or acquaintance can be a bit of a conundrum given that most Iranians, traditionally and culturally, do not celebrate Christmas. Having said that if you have an Iranian friend, chances are you might well be invited, over the Christmas period, to join in their ‘celebrations’ because Iranians love socialising with family and friends at any time of the year and well, Christmas is no exception.

During the days of the Shah, pre 1979 Revolution, according to my husband, Christmas was a jolly time with lots going on such as shows and cabarets and as everything was open, a good time was to be had at Christmas but since then there are no outward signs of Christmas and it is just an ordinary day.

Because Iranians don’t traditionally celebrate Christmas it might seem like a bit of a challenge to know what would be acceptable to buy to give to the host. My advice would be to take something to eat, preferably sweet; so bearing this in mind, don’t hesitate but head straight to Ballards Lane in Finchley where you will be faced with the hard choice of choosing from the vast selection of delicious pastries, creamy cakes and sponges, crunchy nuts of all descriptions and sweet sweet dried fruit and dates. The presentation of the mouth watering selection makes these delicacies the ideal present to present to your host.

Also at 201 Uxbridge Road Ealing W13 9AA

19 December 19