During winter in Bengal the date palm trees are seen with earthen pots tied to their trunks to catch the ras or sap as it trickled from the tapping cuts. In fact village boys often incur the wrath of farmers who have tied their pots to the trees by climbing and drinking the ras, quietly replacing the pot and disappearing. The date palm tree is shorter, less attractive cousin of the tall coconut--the best sap is generated only during the winter. The first tapping takes place in late autumn and successive tappings go on throughout the short winter.In the morning farmers bring down the earthen pots to collect the sap. It is the most natural and uncloying sweetness that I have ever encountered.