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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Truffle Season in Qatar

We've just come back from the Omani market (where we have been photographing flowers for the Valentine's edition of our newsletter). While there, I was delighted to see that there were desert truffles for sale.

Truffles being cleaned at the Omani market
These delicacies are not sold every year - they only grow when there is enough rain. If you are the patient sort you can find truffles yourself.

Fran Gillespie, in her book Discovering Qatar, recommends looking for them either in the very early morning or at sunset, when slight rises in the sand produce a shadow indicating a hidden truffle.

(Update: you might be better off waiting until March, though. Qatari contacts advise me that the truffles pictured here come from Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, and that the ones in Qatar are not yet ready!)

desert truffles

When you have got a few, it is best to shoot off home with the truffles as they like neither sun nor humidity. The Bedouin used to cook these in campfires or or boil them in camel's milk - but cow's milk will do just as well instead. Fran also suggests gently frying them in butter.

See Wholesale Markets in Qatar for more on Doha's Omani market.

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