By John Lee.
As long term observers of events in Iraq, the team at Iraq Business News thought we might have seen just about every unexpected story from a nation that continues to surprise.
We'd heard of the popularity of the Japanese comic character Hello Kitty in Iraq or the trend among some young Iraqis for playing online war-games with levels actually set in Iraq, such as Battlefield 3.
But we were still perplexed to see a genuine story about Basra residents who were sourcing truffles from the desert, despite the risk of unexploded ordinance and land mines, mainly leftover from the Iran-Iraq war. This has been happening for some time near Rumaila.
Odd as it may seem to an outsider, "desert truffles" are in fact as much a delicacy in the Middle East as they would be on the table of a Michelin starred restaurant in Europe.
The recent report on this in The Nation notes these truffles are sold in the markets in Basra, and as more hotels are built in the province, they may already be on the plates of visiting diners.
(Source: The Nation)