The Incontiguous Brick

July 15, 2007

Grossest food ever… casu marzu

Filed under: Life,Our World — iknowkeith @ 10:22 pm

I used to think that I loved all Italian food. Then I learned about Sardinian cuisine.

4170.jpgSardinian cuisine includes a type of cheese that is actually illegal in most places, including Italy! Casu Marzu is probably the nastiest form of cheese ever eaten in polite society. This sheep’s milk creation is the product of sunshine, fresh air and flies. The cheese is left outside to rot for a few weeks in the Northern Italy sun until it is literally crawling with maggots. Once the cheese is full of thousands of jumping maggots it is ready to eat (maggots and all).

cazumarzu.jpgIn my kitchen, the presence of maggots is a good indication it is time to throw out your cheese. So how do you know when casu marzu has gone bad? When the maggot are dead. Once the cheese decays to the point it kills the onboard entomology experiment it has become too toxic for human consumption.

It is recommended that the diner cover the cheese with one hand or wear eye protection to prevent maggots from jumping into the eyes.

Okay. I am not %100 against eating live food. But I do not condone eating anything that presents the risk of getting a maggot in my eye. That is just too gross.

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37 Comments »

  1. You suck. I was (notice the was) just eating breakfast. Now I need to go pray to the porcelain god.

    Comment by Poem — July 16, 2007 @ 8:23 am | Reply

  2. Don’t blame me, blame the Italians. Or maybe the Canadians just because they can’t defend themselves.

    But serisously, I am just trying to provide a public service. Now you know to be cautious next time a Sardinian cheese maker offers you a sample of their private stock.

    Comment by iknowkeith — July 16, 2007 @ 10:26 am | Reply

  3. I never wrote in a blog, but coming across this one I just had to put the record straight.

    “First of all I would like to make clear that I do not eat casu marzu because I can’t take the fact of the worms.”

    The way the cheese is made is not as above, the cheese is never left outside, much less in the sun, instead they make a round incision on the top and lift the top of the cheese, then some milk is poured in it and then they replace the top. It is kept in the cantina (basement food celler) in the dark and a certain kind of fly ( a very small called cheese fly) goes in and lays the eggs in it. The larva feed on the milky cheese and so make the cheese soft, when they reach the bottom of the cheese people start to eat it from the top.
    During this time it is kept inside a bag or container to prevent the worms goig out of it.

    It is gross yes, but you can’t judge a whole island cuisine based on one thing alone.

    At the same time there are more gross things that people do eat. Get informed, check for example the cooked eggs with the chick inside (Philippines) frogs (France and north Italy), termites (Africa), drinking snakes blood and eat its owner after (China and Idonesia), black pudding ‹pig’s blood(UK and most of Europe)› , etc. etc.

    For what concerns sardinian cuisine, it is one of the best cuisine in Italy, casu marzu is only one single thing among the thousands of sardinian typical dishes loved by millions of people that tasted it. Northern Italy can’t rappresent sardinian food at all.

    Just to put the records straight.

    Comment by shardana — August 29, 2007 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

    • HELLO

      JUST WANTED TO SAY WELL SAID THERE ARE WORST THINGS THAT ARE EATEN BUT IF PEOPLE ENJOY THATS THEIR CHOICE.

      Comment by ZAHIR — December 4, 2009 @ 11:11 am | Reply

    • some of the stuff you mention is gross yes, but its not as gross as eating rotten maggot filled cheese, well, maybe except for the egg, which is also pretty gross. and if you think black pudding is even more gross than casu marzu just because of the blood, i got 1 thing to say, not rotten. frogs taste like chicken, the termites get roasted, the snake is dead too, (and blood tastes goood)
      and another thing, he isnt judging the entire sardininan cuisine, hes just telling about a really gross part of it.

      Comment by tuk — December 17, 2009 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

  4. now you ve explained that sheds a whole new light on it – lol. still, think i’ll give it a miss, along with frogs legs, snails, black pudding, snake blood or any other critter that isnt a cow sheep pig or fish.

    Comment by beatrix — November 5, 2007 @ 9:16 am | Reply

  5. Dear me, how strange the mind works that delineates the animal kingdom into the edible and the non edible! My only rule is that before I eat it I must know that it will not make me very sick. I think I would steer clear of this cheese, as the stomach acids do not kill the maggots; they can cause considerable harm trying to bore out of the intestines!

    Comment by Paul — November 22, 2007 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  6. Wow a maggot filled chese. I will never come to this site ever again. You just lost a fan!

    Comment by anesha — November 25, 2007 @ 3:00 pm | Reply

  7. amich wa u nu ha dang. wa ima michi.

    Comment by anesha — November 25, 2007 @ 3:01 pm | Reply

  8. Say what you will about Sardinian cheese they do have the second highest life expectancy on the planet. I have yet to have a Sardinian relative that didnt live over a hundred. Even with their weekly smuggled portion of Casu Marzu.

    Comment by bachiddu — December 27, 2007 @ 11:25 am | Reply

  9. …..sound really bad, but It tastes real good.
    I’m an English woman who lives in Sardinia.
    It’s not made like said above and they are not maggots as such . Even the pic above doesn’t look a bit like the worms in the cheese . They don’t look like maggots what so ever!! ….worse still they look like threadworms…..that jump …..and they don’t half dirty your kitchen! As I know full well as I have banned my husband from bringing the stuff into the house!I know someone who has been intoxicated by it but that was coz he ate a whole form of cheese and countless glasses of wine after a meal of boiled mutton and potatoes.
    Most of my family whom come over often have tried it ….. and all those that have love it.

    As for the fact that the worms are still alive in the intestines ……never heard of anyone at all who has suffered from this problem. Nor do they where glasses to stop them jumping in the eyes ….far fetched!!

    Comment by Annette — January 17, 2008 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

  10. I don’t know who to believe! The ones who say it’s alright to eat, or the ones who say it’s the grossest food they’ve ever come across. I think I’ll just stick to normal cheese just to be on the safe side. BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY! That’s what I always say!

    Comment by Bonnie — March 2, 2008 @ 2:06 am | Reply

  11. hye..i just wondering..these casu marzu is just eat during special events or what?could anyone give me info about the events??thnx a lot..!! luv italian food!!

    Comment by dolly — March 4, 2008 @ 2:43 am | Reply

  12. Hey there.. was just wondering if anyone has pictures of people eating this maggoty cheese. I’m doing a short write up on it.. and I need pictures. Help pls..

    Comment by saycheese! — March 8, 2008 @ 1:53 am | Reply

  13. Hi,
    I’m from Germany and I’m working at a film production.
    We’re just making a documentation about this cheese, we were in Italy and I’ve tasted it.
    I just felt sick after that.
    The maggots jump around in your mouth.
    Just disgusting.
    Bye

    Comment by F3l!x — March 13, 2008 @ 1:17 am | Reply

  14. I think this cheese is very cool… I haven’t tried it though but it doesn’t matter… As long as it is edible then it is yummy… (:

    Comment by iop6000 — March 27, 2008 @ 5:23 am | Reply

  15. I tried it a few times. Very strong stuff. You only eat it with bread and nothing else. You wouldn’t even taste anything but the cheese even if you did. I never noticed maggots jumping around in my mouth when I ate it. The maggots are small. The first bite is the most nastiest. You almost want to puke, and its hard to stomach. Believe it or not though, It gets a lot easier to eat after each bit. Almost tantilizing. But man, stay clear your breath becomes unbearable.

    Comment by Mauro — March 27, 2008 @ 10:03 am | Reply

  16. Ok For as gross as it is I’d be game…You only live once right…So if it ever makes it to the US or I make it Italy and I can try it I’ll let you all know…….

    Comment by Michael — April 5, 2008 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

  17. Annette is quite right. As for “disgusting foods” I’ve eaten frogs, termites, ants, crickets (and other insects, see entomophagy), black pudding, cow and pig’s brain, ‘amourettes’ (young bull testicles)… just to name a few. This kind of thing is in you head, no rational basis for not eating the stuff.

    Comment by William — April 17, 2008 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

  18. Uggghhh… I just threw up in my mouth… I don’t care what those cheese eaters think, if it has a pulse, and is named MAGGOT, oh HECK NO! *completely grossed out right now*

    Comment by NickiD — May 17, 2008 @ 5:23 pm | Reply

  19. While the thought of live worms in my cheese repulses me, I do think western culture needs to be more open-minded to raw foods. When we refridgerate our cheese we kill all the beneficial cultures making it simply a high-fat treat with a bit of calcium. Nevermind the “processed cheese PRODUCTs” out there that consist only a fraction of real cheese. Just food for thought, haha.

    Comment by liveorganically — June 2, 2008 @ 4:01 am | Reply

  20. i would just like to comment on the fact that the OTHER foods people are mentioniung are all dead.
    black pudding , snakes, frogs legs etc…………
    if a living thing is swallowed, ………….OMG NO!
    and like the post just above , if its named MAGGOT, its gotta be a no-no.
    maggots eat rotten food, so not only are you eating fooul smelling rotting food, maggots aswell?
    i’m having chilli and rice for my supper, but somehow the rice has just lost its appeal……..

    Comment by anne — June 18, 2008 @ 6:26 pm | Reply

  21. i tasted casu marzu yesterday for the first time.

    it’s not illegal, and it’s actually not as bad as i expected.

    Comment by Mike — June 22, 2008 @ 4:37 am | Reply

  22. hi i actualy had the cheese while i was in itily it is actulay quiet nice it has a strong and sour flav it is an aquired tast but it is food to eat before you die

    themaggos give it a soft texture yo shoul try it ull b supprised i said no at 1st then my mate giveme £75 to eat it so i did

    Comment by lee — July 9, 2008 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  23. [...] today, I thought I loved every cheese ever invented. Then I learned about Casu Marzu, a Sardinian delicacy available only on the black market. Why only on the black market? Well, it is [...]

    Pingback by Listonomics » Blog Archive » 8 Amazingly Gross Foods — October 15, 2008 @ 9:32 am | Reply

  24. Huh … Sardinia is NOT northern Italy …

    Comment by Phil — January 14, 2009 @ 11:14 am | Reply

  25. I saw this Cheese when I was stationed in Sicily with the Air Force in the mid-1980s. I remember one Sicilian lady was upset over the cheese because there werent enough worms in it. (or maybe she was upset there werent enough LIVE worms?)

    I did not eat the cheese. :-)

    Comment by CCramer — January 21, 2009 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

  26. I have always been of the opinion that if there are people who call something food, then there must be something to it and I am willing to try it. I’ve eaten some weird stuff. It isn’t so much the living insect larvae that bother me, but that I don’t care for strongly flavored cheese in general. I find that even bleu cheese is disagreeable to me in both scent and flavor. I don’t know that I would be able to stomach this.

    Comment by Jeff — March 5, 2009 @ 5:51 pm | Reply

  27. I was just perusing Italy’s streets one night after a few cold ones with my American pals and our Italian friend. Our Italian friend told us cheese was the customary drunk food in Italy, and since we were tourists we of course obliged. Little did we know it was actually Casu marzu, after realizing what I had just ingested I proceeded to dump my stomach contents all over whatever restaurant we were in. The worst part was I wasn’t even drunk anymore after all that hurling.

    Comment by smike — May 6, 2009 @ 6:55 am | Reply

  28. why don’t you get informed a little better instead of saying stupid things about sardinian food?
    shame on you!!!!
    just because you don’t have your own culture you can’t critic something you have never see.
    this is the reason why i hate you all stupid ignorant american peopole..

    Comment by proud to be sardinian — May 9, 2009 @ 12:55 pm | Reply

    • it’s spelled people. dumbass

      Comment by Devin — October 14, 2009 @ 9:31 am | Reply

  29. @proud to be sardinian – I think there are probably about 6.7 billion people, minus however many people live in Sardinia, who would be pretty damn wary of eating rotten., deliquescing cheese full of maggots. I’m pretty sure that this is one time when it’s unfair to accuse someone of being ignorant for not liking the sound of your local cuisine.

    Anyway, if everyone else thinks the stuff is stomach-churning, all the more for you real men, eh?

    Comment by Maria B — July 4, 2009 @ 5:39 pm | Reply

  30. As for me, I would try eating it, even eating larva doesnt scare me that much (man, I have teeth for something, probably they will die before getting into my stomach leave alone “try to bore out of my intestine”). One thing that scares me is that being an unexperienced russian, I wouldnt probably be able to differ casu marzu made by cheese fly, from normal cheese infected by larva of the ordinary fly :))) And that can be dangerous. So I´d better see first, if some experienced Italian eats it and if he is ok, then in some time I would try it too…

    Comment by Anna — September 25, 2009 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  31. Hi !

    Just to reassure everyone about the fear of finding this cheese in your table when you come in Italy. Don’t worry, there’s no risk.

    The article is so full of errors, imprecisions and exaggerations that make me wonder “Why does someone have to write something about things that doesn’t absolutely know ?” (Shardana already explained everything).

    Anyway, Sardinian cuisine is one of the most appreciated in Italy (I’ve never seen a tourist complaining), and this kind of cheese can’t be sold, as the mite cheese in France (cause of course you can certificate the health of the product), and you won’t find it in any restaurant.

    So don’t worry. I’m sardinian and I’ve never tasted it.

    Comment by Ales — January 20, 2010 @ 2:45 am | Reply

  32. I think it’s perfectly legal. Yes there was a time when it was illegal but if memory serves me correct it is once again legal as it is classified as a “traditional food” or something of that sort. Honestly this doesn’t really disgust me at all. I’m not a huge fan of very strong cheeses but the texture does sound very intriguing. I’ve eaten cooked bugs so I really don’t see the big deal with live bugs. People eat a lot of things considered “gross” and this is really nowhere near the top of the list.

    Comment by Jen — November 29, 2010 @ 3:16 am | Reply

  33. italian foods are very tasty and most of their recipes are heart friendly too “~,

    Comment by Desk Antiques — December 2, 2010 @ 3:36 am | Reply

  34. Human beings are not intended to eat stuff that is still alive and wriggling. Bleargh!

    Comment by 1389AD — April 19, 2011 @ 12:49 pm | Reply


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