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Food Spotlight: Desert Truffles, Manna from Heaven

29 March, 2021

How Much do Desert Truffles Cost?

Unlike the Alba white truffle, for example, which can fetch very high prices at auction, the white desert truffle usually sells for about €40 per kilo. Prices can vary greatly depending on the season and scarcity. In very dry years when there is no rain, the price may rise to about €200 per kilo.

In recent years, desert truffles from North Africa and the Middle East have been passed off as counterfeit Italian white truffles. If they are buried in the ground with the more pungent, native Italian truffles (tuber magnatum) they will assume the aroma of their European cousins.

Are Desert Truffles Good For You?

The desert truffle is full of protein and packed with antioxidants, making it a valuable supplement in the Bedouin diet. According to tradition, the desert truffle is considered very good for the eyes and for having an aphrodisiac effect, although science does not support this.

How Do You Cook Desert Truffles?

Some chefs compare the desert truffle to tofu, with its delicate flavour, and use it as a substitute for meat in some classic Arabic dishes.

Traditionally, the desert truffle is cooked in stews with meat, and served with rice. Bedouin tribes usually roast them over hot coals in the desert. The desert truffle appears more and more in modern Arabic cuisine and you can find them in many fine-dining restaurants.

They are often treated in much the same way as European truffles – grated over salads or egg dishes. They also fare a lot better when cooked, and because of their larger dimensions, cheaper cost and more subtle flavour, they are a versatile ingredient that can be prepared in many ways, especially frying or grilling.

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