"Here it is, the truffle, a blessing from God!" Zahra Buheir (pictured below) carefully digs out a desert truffle from the sandy earth and shows it off between her calloused fingers.
This year, scarcity has pushed up prices and truffles that don't sell locally are exported to wealthier Gulf countries.
But customers at Samawa's "Beit al-Hatab" restaurant relish its weekly truffle speciality.
"We fry or grill them, but the favourite dish is truffles on rice," said restaurant owner Fawwaz Hatab.
PHOTO EDITING MARIKA KOCHIASHVILI; WRITING CHARLOTTE BRUNEAU; TEXT EDITING GILES ELGOOD; LAYOUT JULIA DALRYMPLE