Everyone loves cheese to a certain degree. Though some may say cheese is terrible for you.

Depending on the type of cheese, you could be getting a very fatty block of dairy and cholesterol or a thin and nutty flavored dry brick.

Cheese helped advance human culture by providing long-term rations of nearly imperishable foods, and it all came from the unlikeliest places.

The earliest civilizations learned how to make cheese seemingly by accident. Who knew letting milk rot a certain way would make it last longer?

Rotting is the way that ancient man created cheese. Now we use more refined processes, but the old ways are still best for some.

Casu Marzu is a cheese made in the traditions of the old world that doesn’t see eye to eye with modern safety and health conventions.

It means “rotten” or “putrid cheese” because of the process that creates it: a careful, controlled, and active phase of rot and decay.

But instead of growing mold or fuzzy white spots like some cheese, this cheese is refined in the most natural way possible: Maggots.

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10 /10 Pecorino Revolting

The cheese is made from sheep milk, which then becomes pecorino, a complex type of cheese.

This is a typical cheese you can buy anywhere with a slightly salty taste, primarily used in traditional pasta carbonara as the base of the sauce.

This is usually made by taking a vat of sheep’s milk and lamb rennet – a cocktail of enzymes from the stomachs of lamb and other animals.

The milk hardens and slowly becomes cheese when combined and set to age in a dry environment. Casu Marzu goes a bit too far.

9 /10 Fly On The Wall

Casu Marzu starts with aged pecorino, with most of the work done to make a decent, edible cheese. However, casu marzu is a soft cheese – almost like a cream or a sauce.

It becomes this way by introducing a different ripening agent: flies. Makers raise the larvae of a cheese fly – flies that got their name specifically because they like to lay their eggs in cheese.

The larvae then eat and digest the cheese, which breaks down the fats and solids, and separates them, providing solids for growth and turning the fats into a creamy paste. For eating.

8 /10 Sardinian Insanity

This cheese and its creation come from the island of Sardinia.

The Sardinians, or Sards, are recognized as a uniquely separate and autonomous region from the rest of Italy.

The Roman banner did not solely conglomerate the long and storied history of the peninsula, and pockets of unique culture lasted out the millennia through the Empire’s reign to retain their independent style and traditions.

One of those traditions is casu marzu – so the Romans could have done more.


7 /10 Best Eaten Alive

The most accepted way to eat casu marzu is while the larvae are still alive and crawling around.

They’re thin, translucent little worms that can be hard to miss.

They can also cause pseudocyesis when larvae live in a human body and continue to grow by eating the surrounding tissue.

A cheese fan may end up burping up a fully grown fly and then going to the hospital.


6 /10 Self Defense Network

The cheese is most often served in slices spread across traditional Sardinian flatbread.

But watch out; the larvae are still alive and hate to be disturbed.

You’re technically stealing their food by eating the cheese they were born and raised in.

And they can leap up to 6 inches to attack. It’s customary to hold your hand over the plate, so they don’t get at your soft, juicy eyes.

5 /10 Animal Cruelty

There is a way to eat the cheese without also eating bugs.

Placing a slice of cheese in a plastic bag will eventually suffocate the larvae, who, in desperation, will jump against the material like popcorn until they all shrivel up and die.

The cheese is spared of its rotting bodies, and you can scrape it without maggot chasers.

4 /10 Why Even Bother?

This must be some of the best-tasting cheese in the world to be worth the effort.

According to brave cheese experts – it’s not bad.

Like stronger gorgonzola, naturally a little spicy with some bitterness that goes great with a robust red wine.

The Sards also believe it to be an aphrodisiac, so the night can begin when the cheese is gone.


3 /10 Maggot-Cheese Product

There is an appeal to casu marzu beyond the traditionalism and ancient cultural heritage it represents.

Researchers have attempted to develop a hygienic production method not incorporating insects.

What makes it work is the enzymes the larvae use to break down the cheese, which is essentially a micro-dose of rennet, which is itself just part of the process.

The trick is getting a mix of enzymes that can turn decaying pecorino into an edible, bug-free cheese spread.

2 /10 Cutting The Cheese Cost

The cost of casu marzu is hard to determine because its sale is blocked worldwide due to its “freshest” containing harmful living elements.

Stores can’t sell living things as food under the best circumstances, and selling food with living things in it is like cheating.

Any cost you find will be in fines from importing contraband, but local farmers may part with it for $100 a pound.

You may also have to eat it with them, so no one sees you wheel a fly-infested wheel of cheese into your car.


1 /10 So Bad It’s Illegal

Casu Marzu is outlawed by the European Union and is illegal in many countries to produce, distribute or own, including the United States.

The primary reason is health concerns, and it’s also been declared by the Guinness World Record authority as the most dangerous cheese in the world.

Specific bylaws and loopholes in regulations proclaim that the cheese is a traditional food protected from such restrictions as the method for making it hasn’t changed in more than 25 years and has lasted for many decades more than that – but people aren’t budging.

They see bugs living in cheese; they make up their minds.

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