Thursday 7 June 2012

Cheese of Evil

Fans of Terry Pratchett will recall in the Wee Free Men trilogy that there was a cheese called Lancre Blue which had to be nailed to the table to stop it attacking the other cheeses.  Lancre Blue is a lightweight when it comes to bad-tempered cheeses because I've found one that is positively evil by comparison.  

The cheese in question, my friends, is Casu Marzu. It's a cheese made from sheep's milk by the good people of Sardinia. It is not, however, something that you would be advised to select as a tasty end to your evening meal.

Why not?  Well, if you look closely (not to be advised as I'll discuss later), you can see that the cheese is in fact seething with thousands of maggots of the cheese fly;  their digestion of the fats in the cheese makes it very soft, in fact almost liquid in places. Don't think by the way that they are removed before eating; oh dearie me, no. Connoisseurs of Casu Marzu believe that to eat the cheese complete with larvae heightens the experience. They also consider it an aphrodisiac - makes sense of course because nothing says sexy as much as eating maggot-infested cheese. 

I mentioned earlier that it's not a good idea to look too closely at the cheese itself - this is because the maggots can in fact jump up to six inches if disturbed and slicing the cheese up to eat it counts as disturbing them.

So, you've taken a big mouthful of Casu Marzu, complete with little passengers. I bet you're saying to yourself "my stomach acid will kill the larvae". Guess again - they're usually still alive by the time they reach your intestines. With the tiny hooks in their mouth parts, they will often fasten onto the walls of the gut and start burrowing in.

Yes, cheese with hit points.

This is just the sort of thing that I could imagine being served up in goblin taverns - in fact, we could make this a little community project; cheeses with a little bite to them. Anybody got any suggestions? I'll count Casu Marzu as Entry no.1.


  1. Seen that one before - it's a puzzler.

  2. Ah yes, the famous rotten cheese; it's really delicious, though I removed the maggots before eating it (and it's no small feat removing them!)

    I am Italian :)

  3. I knew about this one:
    ...but that's harmless in comparison...
    I'd try it, though. Maybe...

  4. There's a "death cheese" in, I think, the Forgotten Realms; it's made from the milk of a catoblepas, as I recall, but the cheese itself is safe. Imagine my surprise, years later, on discovering Casu Marzu, which is not only much worse, but real.

  5. The "posh" way to serve it is to blend cheese and worms in a mixer.

  6. This just screams to me "survivor food" and not the stuff you set out to make. Things like this always seem like the stuff you ended up eating because you had used the last of your milk or couldn't afford to let resources go to waste.

    After that it gains a mystique and people acquire a taste for it.

  7. Excellent. I'm totally stealing this as a goblin delicacy for my game.

    I can't believe it's real...