Casu Marzu: World’s most hardcore cheese

Cheese is a favorite food for many people. Whether they like to eat it on crackers, bread, or on their macaroni, very few people in the world dislike this salty staple. Standard cheese is made from curdling milk. Milk cuddles because it has proteins called casein and whey. When bacteria in the milk begin to multiply, it creates lactic acid, which curdles the casein. The watery substance left behind is the whey.

Making cheese begins with milk that is combined with enzymes and bacteria that curdles the milk. The casein is salted, cut, and heated until the cheesemaker is happy with the leftover casein. The clumps are molded and left to age for as long as the cheesemaker sees fit. 

This process is used to make traditional cheeses like, Mozzarella, Swiss, and Cheddar. However, Casu Marzu utilizes maggots in their cheese. Yep, maggots. Maggots are known to be used in hospitals for extreme cases of infection and necrosis. Necrosis is a condition that forms when a patient’s skin dies, often as a result of untreated infection, frostbite, or excessive smoking. While these maggots are common, the maggots in Casu Marzu are a little more controversial. However, it is surprisingly popular.

In Italy, many farmers make this kind of cheese. They first make a normal wheel of pecorino cheese. Pecorino is a hard and salty cheese that is made from sheep milk. Then, a cheesefly lays its eggs into the cheese. The larvae start eating away at the cheese, and they leave behind a creamier, softer version of the cheese. In case it was not clear, the Casu Marzu is maggot poop. 

Some people think that the maggots will hatch inside their bodies and eat them; however, this is not very common. Maggots only eat rotten flesh, so if a maggot starts to eat them, it probably means that they were already dying from the inside anyway. In addition, a person’s stomach acid will be more than enough to kill any maggots or eggs because these little bugs are not meant for surviving inside the human body, unlike tapeworms. While tapeworm eggs will absolutely survive the aid of a person’s stomach, fly eggs have no such protection, and any ingested maggots will die upon contact with a person’s stomach acid. The only problems that can arise from eating maggots happen when maggots have been exposed to rotting flesh or animal feces. Since the maggots in Casu Marzu have not been in either of those things, they are most likely safe to eat. Unfortunately, the maggots were reason enough to outlaw this cheese in America and some parts of Europe. 

In order to eat this cheese, someone would have to travel to a place where it is not outlawed, like Italy, or they can make it at home. Many people may never get to try it, but the ones who do report that it tastes like stronger gorgonzola cheese. Others say that it gives the original pecorino cheese a spicy, doughy flavor. Many agree that it is a very tasty cheese.

Casu Marzu may be considered the world’s most dangerous cheese, but some people say that the flavor of the cheese is worth it. The accuracy of this statement depends from person to person, but might as well try it at least once!