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20 Interesting Casu Marzu Facts

by Sankalan Baidya
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Wondering what Casu Marzu is? We will tell you in a while but let us give you some heads-up… It is definitely one of the most disgusting foods in world that you can come across. By now you must have started thinking of Hákarl or Balut or something of the sorts and perhaps you are wondering – what on earth can be more disgusting than those? Check your thoughts for you are about to experience something that you have probably haven’t even thought of in your wildest dreams! Okay, enough of suspense. Let us learn 20 interesting Casu Marzu facts and by the way, ‘Happy Puking’!

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Origin: Sardinia Town, Italy.

Milk Source: Goat/Sheep.

Milk Type: Non-pasteurized.

Cheese Type: Soft texture with live maggots.

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Interesting Casu Marzu Facts: 1-10

1. Also known as Maggot Cheese or Rotten Cheese, Casu Marzu is prepared out of Pecorino cheese. Yes, you just read it right – Rotten Cheese or Maggot Cheese!

2. Casu Marzu is not an outcome of simple fermentation. It is actually a step beyond that! It is called decomposition.

3. First the Pecorino cheese is taken and its crust is cut open and left outside deliberately for the cheese fly to lay eggs in it.

4. The eggs develop into larvae which then feed on the cheese and during their growth, their digestive action starts decomposing the fat present in the cheese.

5. The end result is that the cheese develops a very soft texture. That’s not all! Some liquid known as lagrima starts seeping out from the entire thing.

6. At this stage the preparation of the Casu Marzu is complete and is ready to be consumed. But wait! What about the larvae that were happily nesting inside the cheese.

7. The larvae inside the cheese look like transparent white worms and are eaten along with the cheese.

8. If that wasn’t enough to make you sick, here is yet another interesting fact about the Rotten Cheese – once you try eat the cheese, the larvae inside it feel really disturbed and start jumping out.

9. The larvae have an amazing capability of jumping up to 6 inches or 15 centimeters and there are high chances that these larvae end up jumping out everywhere and even into your eyes.

10. As a precautionary measure, it is always better to cover the top of the bread on which the cheese is spread out with a hand to prevent the larvae from hopping away.

Interesting Casu Marzu Facts: 11-20

11. So, the larvae are eaten along with the cheese? Of course yes! You eat the maggots along with the cheese.

12. However, you are free to either let the larvae hop away or you can simply pick them out one by one and simply eat the cheese without those nasty little worms.

13. Just in case you prefer to stick to the previous method of eating, it is suggested that you wear onion glasses in order to protect your eyes from maggots’ invasion.

14. Casu Marzu literally contains thousands of maggots inside it and Sardinians actually consider the Casu Marzu to be unsafe for eating if the maggot die inside the cheese.

15. The best way of serving the Maggot Cheese is to spread it on a moistened Sardinian flatbread and eat with pretty strong red wine.

16. Sardinians actually consider the Casu Marzu to be an aphrodisiac.

17. There is yet another interesting way of eating the Rotten Cheese. People are often found eating the cheese with dead maggots inside them. Well, the status of the maggots must be – ‘Just Died’. How is that achieved?

18. People place the Casu Marzu in a sealed paper bag and cut off the oxygen supply of the larvae. The larvae keep jumping inside the bag making a typical ‘pitter-patter’ sound and eventually die.

19. When no more sound is heard and the pitter-patter stops, the cheese is taken out and is eaten along with the dead maggots.

20. This Casu Marzu was once banned on grounds of food hygiene-health regulations of the European Union. This opened up black market for the Maggot Cheese and was usually sold at double the price of Pecorino cheese. Later the ban was lifted and Casu Marzu became legal again.

Sources: 1, 2

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