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Imported kinds dominate truffle market in Kuwait

Prices range from KD 10 to KD 15 – Rain scarcity leads to lack of local, regional truffles

KUWAIT: The truffle season is in full swing, and the truffle market in Rai sees large crowds during the weekends, as it is located close to the Friday Market. The market operates from Dec 22 to May 15, but if truffles are unavailable, it may end earlier. The vendors are extremely friendly and provided all the information Kuwait Times needed.

The first auction of truffles starts at 5:30 am. Another auction takes place during the day. The various stalls then sell the truffles until late evening, and even till midnight. As working hours are long, the vendors live here till the end of the season. They have temporary rooms at the back of the stalls, as they do not live in Kuwait and only come during this season for this business.

Due to the scarcity of rain this year, there are no local or even Saudi or Iraqi truffles in the market. The most popular ones are Tunisian truffles. “The majority of truffles in this market are from Tunisia, and a few from Libya. Yesterday, a small shipment arrived from Algeria and was sold quickly,” a vendor named Mohammed told Kuwait Times yesterday.

After around 10 days, Iranian truffles will arrive in the Kuwaiti market. “Iranian truffles are more expensive, so after they arrive, the prices of Tunisian and Libyan truffles will drop. We expect a large quantity from Iran, which is more expensive and more in demand. Unfortunately, there are no Kuwaiti truffles this year as it did not rain enough. They are the most expensive, as the price of a kilogram may reach KD 30 or more,” he said.

There are three kinds and three sizes of truffles available. The white is more expensive than the dark. “The white is called zbeidi and the price depends on the size. The bigger ones are more expensive, costing KD 15, medium ones cost KD 13 and the small ones KD 12. Dark truffles are called khlasi – the large ones cost KD 12, while the smaller ones cost KD 10. Only a few booths have truffles that are colored between the dark and white, which are called shahba, and their prices also range somewhere in between,” explained Mohammed.

Abu Jasim sells Libyan truffles, and these are only available in white. They cost KD 18 for the large ones, KD 15 for medium ones and KD 14 for the small ones. He explained that there are also other kinds of truffles not currently available, such as chima, which is black.

There are different ways to cook truffles. According to Abu Jasim, while truffles are softer than the dark ones, so they shouldn’t be cooked for a long time. “Dark truffles are best for machboos, while the white are best for frying. The truffles should first be soaked in water for at least 10 minutes to get rid of the soil. Then they should be boiled for about 10 minutes. They can then be fried, but without spices, onion or garlic, as these kill the flavor of the truffle. It can now be added to machboos or any other dish. Also, dark truffles are best for freezing,” he pointed out.

By Nawara Fattahova

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