Digging for Desert Truffles

Thursday April 28, 2016 Written by Naomi

The truffle, aka “the world’s fanciest fungus”, is beloved everywhere from the Middle East to mainland Europe. But in Iraq, finding truffles in the desert means dodging land-mines and avoiding ISIS. The danger may put many people off, but that’s exactly what makes the fungi so abundant in some parts of Northern Iraq. They are also largely free from foraging animals, because as The National reports, they don’t often survive visits to the area.

Desert truffles aren’t just prized for their taste, either: they’re also believed by some to enhance male sexual performance. But for the hunters, it’s the day’s worth of wages that a kilogram of truffles is worth that sees them head into dangerous terrain. Some pay with their lives. Roads & Kingdoms reports that some Kurds on the hunt headed too close to ISIS controlled territory and were captured by militants. Certainly makes hunting animals look like a trip to the supermarket.