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Casu marzu

Casu marzu
Shardan / CC BY-SA 2.5
  • Made from sheep's milk

  • Country of origin: France and Italy

  • Region: Sardinia (Italy), Southern Corsica (France)

  • Type: soft, soft-ripened

  • Texture: soft-ripened

  • Rind: natural

  • Synonyms: formaggio marcio, casu fràzigu, casu cundídu, casu modde

Casu marzu literally means ‘rotten cheese’ and is made exclusively in Sardinia Island. The cheese contains live maggots and is a part of the Sardinian food heritage. It is made up of sheep milk and belongs to the Pecorino family. After fermentation, the cheese is left to decompose with the help of the digestive action of the cheese fly larvae which are introduced in the cheese solely for this purpose. Due to the action of the larvae, the cheese becomes very soft and liquid. A different variety of this cheese is also available on the island of Corsica. It is a traditional food of the region and is mostly consumed at weddings and celebrations.

Please note: Casu martzu is considered by Sardinian aficionados to be unsafe to eat when the maggots in the cheese have died.

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