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The desert truffle season is here, and it is drawing crowds to the Al-Faqaa (Truffle) Market in Rai. The market showcases a variety of truffles, each distinct in shape, taste, size and price. As enthusiasts explore this culinary haven, the diverse offerings contribute to a sensory experience, highlighting the rich tapestry of flavors of regional truffles. The season’s onset marks a time of culinary exploration and appreciation for these prized delicacies in Kuwait.

The truffle market experiences such high demand every year, that hundreds of merchants vie for the limited stalls available during the winter months. Bu Khalil, a truffle seller, spoke to Kuwait Times about the truffle season, which began at the beginning of January and will continue until the end of May. “There is a high demand for buying truffles nowadays, and prices are still high due to the lack of truffles, but prices will drop by half after 10 days,” he said.

With approximately 30 varieties of desert truffles, the culinary spotlight typically falls on three main types — the esteemed white truffle, known as zubaidi, the red truffle, and the elusive black desert truffle (khula). The black variety is particularly challenging to find.

Regarding prices, Bu Khalil revealed that prices currently range between KD 10 and 30 per kilo. “The price of a medium-sized faqaa is KD 10, while a large one costs KD 20- 25. As for the zubaidi, a large one costs KD 30 and the small one KD 12,” he explained. He confirmed the truffle varieties currently present in the Kuwaiti market are imported from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria, noting the Iranian truffle season will begin on Feb 25, while other types will become available from Jan 27. Bu Khalil said the Kuwaiti Faqaa Market is considered the first-of-its-kind in the Gulf, as it specializes only in selling truffles.

Ahmed Al-Masry confirmed that other varieties of truffles from Arab countries will arrive next week. “The current prices of the truffles range between KD 20 and 50 per kilo of small and medium ones, while the biggest ones are sold for KD 70,” he said. He stressed prices will soon be within everyone’s reach, as the current high prices are due to a lack of truffles in the market.

Another seller, Ali Al-Jabali, said there are several varieties of truffles, the most expensive of which is the “zubaidi”, whose price reaches hundreds of dinars depending on the size. There is also the “khalas” type, which is very desirable and is sold by kilo or by box.

“Zubaidi, a distinguished white truffle renowned for its substantial size, good smell and delightful taste, maintains a consistently high price throughout the season. Even in exceptional cases where prices may see a slight decrease, the overall value of zubaidi remains elevated. Many citizens opt to purchase significant quantities of this prized truffle, often choosing to store it for later use, attesting to its enduring popularity and appeal in Kuwaiti cuisine. Kuwaitis are addicted to truffles because they are rare and have such a distinct taste,” Jabali told Kuwait Times.

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