Al-Kamaa (White Desert Truffle)

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Al-Kamaa (White Desert Truffle)


In the past in the Arabian Peninsula, people would go out into the desert at the end of each rainy season and return with an abundant harvest of white truffles, the most prized type, called faqaa or kamaa. We can distinguish three different types: zubaidi, considered one of the most delicious and prized; ghlassi which tends to be yellow, has a good flavor and is more common than the first type; jabba which often tends to be black and is the least common.
White truffles grow hidden underground and have a spherical shape and smooth texture. Its color varies between white and brownish. The size varies and ranges from hazelnut to orange; sometimes there can be larger truffles if the rain gets heavier. Truffles usually grow after the monsoon rains from January to April; they are harvested between April and June and disappear at the first frost. The monsoon rain is essential for good truffle growth. The truffles must then be harvested at the right time: if they are picked earlier they are too immature, later they decompose in the soil. Truffles can be found by locating, with an expert eye, small cracks in the soil in conjunction with tuff or specific desert plants or grasses. Some truffle hunters are beginning to use dogs that recognize their scent thanks to their sense of smell. They are mainly found in the northern area of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the north-east and close to the Iraqi border. They are also found in As Sadawi, Al Jadidah, Hafr Al and Al Shoaba.

Truffles can be eaten raw or cooked and are used in several traditional local dishes. For example, they are used for the dish called ghafesa (truffle boiled and then cooked with salt and clarified butter) that is very popular in the northern part of the country. Another way to enjoy truffles is to grill them over charcoal or cook them with majbous rice. Truffles can also be preserved: in the past they were stored inside cotton bags (after being cut and cleaned) while today they can be stored in the freezer.
Recently, Saudi Arabia has been sponsoring the Desert Truffle Festival to re-launch this product and the link with local gastronomy.

In recent years, the presence of these truffles has been in sharp decline. Although the local people continue to value their tradition, the weather conditions are not the same as in the past. Today, rainfall is less regular and the seasons are no longer clear-cut. Moreover, premature harvesting for commercial purposes is reducing their numbers.

The selection of the products is supported by the Culinary Arts Commission of the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia
In collaboration with Azka Farms, Saudi Arabia

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StateSaudi Arabia

Northern Border

Production area:

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