What Makes the Casu Marzu Cheese So Weird?
Casu Marzu is basically pecorino cheese, but rotten pecorino cheese. What makes Casu Marzu so dangerous is that it contains live maggots. But that’s what gives it its celebrity status too!
Where is Casu Marzu made?
Sardinia, Italy, is home to the world’s most dangerous cheese. This rare form of cheese requires specialized know-how to make. Typically, the few Sardinian farmers who can make Casu Marzu learned it from their parents or grandparents. It has been a part of the Sardinian culture for generations.
How Do You Make This Weird Cheese?
Farmers in Sardinia, Italy, have sheep farms. In these farms, they harvest sheep milk then use it to make cheese. The result of this is traditional pecorino cheese. You make pecorino cheese by heating the sheep milk and letting it cure for a period. That usually lasts about three weeks.
Afterward, the crust of the resulting pecorino cheese is cut off, making it suitable for flies to incubate in. A particular fly called the cheese fly- Piophilia casei – is what transforms standard cheese into Casu Marzu. Sometimes, the locals add olive oil to the cheese to attract flies.
The cheese flies perch on the cheese and lays several eggs. This takes place in a special dark hut. The farmers keep the cheese in the dark hut for 2-3 months. It takes that long so that the eggs will have enough time to hatch into active larvae.
Maggots soon live inside the cheese. They eat and excrete inside it, hence the resulting texture and flavor that’s uniquely Casu Marzu’s. Locals call it the robust Casu Marzu’s taste, but it’s really just maggot’s waste.
What Does Casu Marzu Taste Like?
The world’s most dangerous cheese has a uniquely robust flavor like ripe gorgonzola; lovers of the delicacy report that it has more of an accompanying sensation than a taste. It also has a sharp burn and even works as an aphrodisiac! Also, Casu Marzu’s precise texturing is unique. It is a gluey and gummy mass of rotting cheese!
How Do You Eat Casu Marzu?
The only way to eat this cheese is when the larvae are still alive and thriving! That’s right; dead maggots show that the cheese has gone bad. Therefore, you can only eat Casu Marzu while the worms are still active and wriggling.
If you are eating Casu Marza, you need to take note of a few things. Firstly, watch your eyes because wriggling maggots can jump. Be vigilant while eating, as part of your food might just be leaping six inches off your plate and into your eyes!
Secondly, ensure you thoroughly chew and kill all maggots before swallowing. Or else, they really do become a danger to you. Living maggots can survive in human bodies and rip holes through intestines. But what’s the risk compared to a few delicious maggots, no?
Conclusion – Dangerously Loved!
Interestingly, some Sardinian pecorino cheeses are so special; they have the protective designation of origin status. That means, like champagne, they can’t be made anywhere else in the world! However, this does not apply to the dangerously rotten pecorino cheese. Instead, the European Union has placed a ban on Casu Marzu.
Still, its illegal status does not stop locals from enjoying it with their families. Even health officials in Sardinia have a secret appreciation for the special delicacy. They believe it’s an integral part of their history and culture. For example, the extraordinary cheese is kept for most special gatherings, including weddings! If you find yourself in Sardinia, Italy, be sure to enjoy some of this weird cheese with flatbread and red wine.