Ever wondered what happens when lightning strikes the Saharan sand? It has long been believed that after a rainy fall season the sand becomes filled with truffles, or Terfez, as they are known across Algeria. In other Middle Eastern countries, the variety of truffle may be referred to as Kama or Faqa.
During a rainstorm accompanied by lightning, a very high electrical current is discharged and basic nitrogen can be split into nitrogen atoms or nitrogen free radicals. The atoms and free radicals can form nitrogen compounds containing water molecules, which include hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen atoms.
All fungi species require nitrogen compounds in order to initiate fruiting or growth. The locals and nomadic Bedouin tribes claim that the Terfez they harvest is created when strong lightning and thunder storms engulf the desert. The Tuareg people, nomadic natives of the Sahara Desert, refer to the Terfez as "lightning fungus".
Desert truffles do not have the same flavor as their European relatives and tend to be slightly more affordable. They are extremely popular in Levantine countries including Iran, Syria and Iraq.
Desert truffles are usually mixed with biryani or kebab or simply boiled in water with salt. They add a warm taste, richness and texture to food.
Vegetarians often use these mushrooms as a substitute for meat. This is because the Desert truffle has unique meaty-like flavors and adds great texture to all dishes.
During our travels we discovered that the Terfez is revered as a delicacy and considered a precious
food. Although some varieties can be consumed either raw or cooked, the Terfez we forage from the Sahara is best when cooked.
Stay tuned for a tasty recipe using our truly spectacular Algerian Terfez!
We are now accepting orders for the 2017-2018 season!