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World's most dangerous cheese considered a 'delicacy' despite being riddled with maggots

World's most dangerous cheese considered a 'delicacy' despite being riddled with maggots

Sardinians have been eating this cheese for centuries, even though it can cause intestinal myiasis

We all have that one friend who gets a little too excited about roquefort and camembert - but we reckon they'd probably draw the line at this cheese with live maggots leaping out of it.

Oh, and did we mention the risk of them laying eggs in your digestive tract?

Dubbed as the world’s 'most dangerous cheese' by the Guinness World Records in 2009, casu marzu is a creamy cheese from Sardinia made of two essential ingredients: sheep’s milk and live maggots. Yup, good ol’ larvae.

Now any cheese is made from heating milk and adding bacterial cultures to help ferment it, but in the case of casu marzu, you’re kind of eating that fermentation as it’s happening.

Local fromagers in Sardinia will cut open a wheel of cheese, typically a pecorino, and allow cheese skipper flies, Piophila casei, to lay their eggs in its cracks.

The maggots will then hatch and ferment the cheese, turning it into a soft, creamy treat.

In case the concept of live maggots wasn’t appealing enough, they’re also a pretty active species and can jump 15 centimeters (six inches) in the air.

The larvae ferments the cheese as you eat it. (Getty Stock Photo)
The larvae ferments the cheese as you eat it. (Getty Stock Photo)

Some people prefer to spin the cheese in a centrifuge to help it blend with the maggots, while others enjoy it as it is — jumping larvae and all.

Casu marzu is evidently banned from commercial sale for the potential risk of causing intestinal myiasis. If the larvae enter your digestive system, it’s possible that they could set up camp and hatch their own eggs in your gastrointestinal tract which could lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Although eating casu marzu comes with risk, Sardinians have been eating it for centuries with some locals believing that it even acts as an aphrodisiac.

Even Gordon Ramsay was shocked by the cheese. (Fox)
Even Gordon Ramsay was shocked by the cheese. (Fox)

Now the question still remains, what does casu marzu actually taste like? Well, according to BBC’s Vivienne Nunis, the cheese is 'very strong, a little tingly'.

She continued: "It’s very nice, it’s like parmesan cheese. I didn’t notice the maggots at all.”

Gordon Ramsay on the other hand, had a completely different reaction to casu marzu describing it as 'sour' on a Season 4 episode of The F Word. The celebrity chef also immediately drank water after taking a bite, and proceeded to kill a fly that leaped out of the cheese while he was eating, so do with that information as you will.

Although we might be siding with Ramsay on this one, if Nunis can look past the maggots, perhaps we can all do the same?

Featured Image Credit: Getty/Robert Pavsic/Getty/Jaka Suryanta

Topics: Health, Science, Weird, Food and Drink