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Home > Food> Discover > Photos: Truffle hunters of Iraq

Photos: Truffle hunters of Iraq

The arid region of Samawa in Iraq produces a desert truffle prized for its medicinal properties and rich buttery flavour

Truffles are treasures of the desert in Iraq. There is a belief, rooted in folklore, that connect these truffles to winter storms: The spores of truffles live in the roots of certain plants. When it rains, these plants thrive, which makes the truffles grow. But there is a fascinating phenomena needed for these fungi to fully mature: during the winter storms, lightning strikes the earth, infusing the soil with nitrogen and nourishing the truffles, making them prime for picking in spring. (Alaa Al-Marjani, Reuters)
Truffles are treasures of the desert in Iraq. There is a belief, rooted in folklore, that connect these truffles to winter storms: The spores of truffles live in the roots of certain plants. When it rains, these plants thrive, which makes the truffles grow. But there is a fascinating phenomena needed for these fungi to fully mature: during the winter storms, lightning strikes the earth, infusing the soil with nitrogen and nourishing the truffles, making them prime for picking in spring. (Alaa Al-Marjani, Reuters)
Women truffle hunters looking for this rare delicacy in the arid region of Samawa, Iraq. The income from the sale of this seasonal ingredient is needed to support their families. It fetches them $7 ( <span class='webrupee'>₹</span> 500) a kilo, and is much cheaper than the prohibitively priced European truffles which can cost more than a few lakhs of rupees for a kilo. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Women truffle hunters looking for this rare delicacy in the arid region of Samawa, Iraq. The income from the sale of this seasonal ingredient is needed to support their families. It fetches them $7 ( 500) a kilo, and is much cheaper than the prohibitively priced European truffles which can cost more than a few lakhs of rupees for a kilo. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Abu Jakka Farhan, a truffle hunter, being supported in a wheelchair while he goes looking for this precious ingredient. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Abu Jakka Farhan, a truffle hunter, being supported in a wheelchair while he goes looking for this precious ingredient. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Truffle hunters spend weeks digging out the fungi. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Truffle hunters spend weeks digging out the fungi. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Truffle hunters set up temporary tents as they make the desert home during spring. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Truffle hunters set up temporary tents as they make the desert home during spring. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
They are sold on street carts in the cities of Iraq and cost about  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span> 500 a kilo. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
They are sold on street carts in the cities of Iraq and cost about 500 a kilo. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Ra'ad Abdelemir, a trader, arranges the fresh produce in a tent at a market in Samawa, Iraq, (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Ra'ad Abdelemir, a trader, arranges the fresh produce in a tent at a market in Samawa, Iraq, (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Mohsen Farhan, 31, a truffle hunter, shares a meal with his family in a temporary tent in the desert in Samawa, Iraq. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Mohsen Farhan, 31, a truffle hunter, shares a meal with his family in a temporary tent in the desert in Samawa, Iraq. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Zahra Buheir, 72, a truffle hunter, said in a Reuters story—Here it is, the truffle, a blessing from God. Rain came, and then thunder, bringing truffles up to the surface. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)
Zahra Buheir, 72, a truffle hunter, said in a Reuters story—Here it is, the truffle, a blessing from God. Rain came, and then thunder, bringing truffles up to the surface. (Alaa Al-Marjani/ Reuters)

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