Cheese covered in live maggots sounds pretty disgusting, right? Well, to some it's a delicacy called Casu Marzu.
WTF is Casu Marzu?
Casu Marzu, often called the world's most dangerous cheese, is an illegal cheese found in Sardinia, Italy, made from sheep's milk and infested with live maggots. Because of the obvious health implications, the European Union banned the cheese, however it is still available on the black market today.
How is it made?
The entire process takes a couple of months. First, traditional pecorino cheese is made by heating sheep's milk and letting it sit and cure for about three weeks. After that, the crust is cut off, making it inviting for flies to lay their eggs. The cheese is left in a dark hut for about two to three months so the fly eggs can hatch into larvae. As the larvae eat the rotting cheese, it passes through their bodies and the excretions give the cheese a distinct flavor and texture. The robust Casu Marzu flavor is said to taste akin to that of a ripe gorgonzola. But in reality, you're tasting larvae excrement.
How is it eaten?
The cheese is typically eaten when the maggots are still alive, as dead maggots are a sign that it has gone bad. (We're serious.) Since the maggots are alive and wiggling (and can jump to great heights when disturbed), diners need to be mindful of their eyes when eating the delicacy. It's important to note that when consuming the cheese, the maggots must be chewed and killed before swallowing, or else they can live in your body and rip holes through your intestines. The cheese is usually enjoyed on a moistened flat bread with a glass of strong red wine. Maggots and merlot anyone?
When is it eaten?
Casu Marzu has been a part of Sardinian culture for generations and is believed to be an aphrodisiac, often consumed at weddings and celebratory gatherings.
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