Ah maggot cheese, we almost forgot you existed.
Michael Tunick, a research chemist for the United States Department of Agriculture, recently told Business Insider that maggot cheese ― also known as Casu Marzu― is the one cheese he’d never eat. And for good reason!
Casu Marzu, which is popular in Sardinia, Italy, is made from sheep’s milk. It contains live maggots, which helped earn its title as “the world’s most dangerous cheese.”
There are a few ways to make it. Generally, people cut the rind of the cheese and then let it sit in a dark hut for about two to three months while larvae hatches on it. The larvae eat the cheese and then excrete on it, giving Casa Marzu its unmistakable flavor. But don’t worry ― before the cheese is served, the maggots are generally killed.
“[When serving the cheese] what they generally do is either scrape off the insects before you eat it or they put the cheese in a paper bag and you can hear the insects popping around off the inside of the bag,” Tunick explained in a video for Business Insider. “And you wait until that noise dies down, meaning that the insects have basically died.”
Then, bon appétit! Just make sure to really chew so you kill all the leftover live maggots.
Anna Ward, a cheese writer, tried Casa Marzu a few years ago and documented her experience for Serious Eats:
“I bit. I chewed. I cringed. My friends grappled with what they had just choked down. It was strong, challenging, but actually very enjoyable. It hinted of gorgonzola and black pepper but left a thick film in my mouth, preventing me from forgetting the little buggies currently digesting inside my stomach.”
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