Casu marzu: Cheese is found along with the most dangerous larvae in the world

Casu marzu: Cheese is found along with the most dangerous larvae in the world

Casu marzu is made from peserino cheese (photo), which is usually made from sheep’s milk (photo: Getty Images)

Agustino Petroni, CNN

(CNN) The Italian island of Sardinia is in the middle of the Tyrannian Sea. Surrounded by white sand beaches and 1,849 km of emerald waters, the landscape forms impenetrable hills and mountains. It is in this paradox scenario that clergy produce March caseA ponytail infected the larvae, which in 2009 was declared the most dangerous in the world by the Guinness Book.

In Sardin, casu marzu means rotten cheese. She is Made with Pecino Cheese, Usually made with sheep’s milk. With the help of cheese flies (Piophila casei), which lay their eggs in the cracks formed in the food, the product almost reaches a stage of decomposition.

Casu marzu (Photo: reproduction CNN travel)
Casu marzu (Photo: reproduction CNN travel)

The larvae hatch, making their way through the paste, digesting the protein during the process and turning the product into a creamy and soft cheese. Once ready, it is time to open the lid – almost untouched by insects – to take a spoonful of creamy delicacy.

This is not the time for weak stomachs. At this point, the larvae inside have started scorching. Some residents put cheese in a centrifuge to mix the worms. Others like it naturally. They open their mouths and eat everything. If you can overcome the hatred, the marzu has an intense and spicy taste. The choice lasts for hours in the mouth.

While some say that cheese is an aphrodisiac, some argue that it can be hazardous to health, as the larvae can survive and cause intestinal problems. However, no such case has been reported so far.

Commercial sale of humility is prohibited, but has been consumed by the Sardinians for centuries. “The larval infection is the charm and delight of this cheese”, says 29-year-old gastronomer Paolo Solinas of Sardinia. He adds that some freckles tremble at the thought of Kasu Merzu, but others who grew up with salty peserino in their lives prefer the strong flavors of the product.

“Some pastors see cheese as a unique personal enjoyment, something that few elected officials may experience,” Solinas says.

Ancient food. When tourists visit Sardinia, they usually end up in a restaurant that serves sardines poredudu (slow-roasted pig), bakers who sell expensive carao panels (traditional flat bread thin as paper), and Along with the shepherds who meet the sardinine fieur, Pecorino is the cheese of the island. However, for adventurers, it is possible to find Casu Marzu, which keeps an ancient tradition alive and gives an indication of what the future of food will be like.

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Giovanni Fansello, a 77-year-old journalist and gastronomer from Sardinia, spent his life researching the history of local food. This dates back to a time when Sardinia was a province of the Roman Empire. “Latin was our language and it is in our dialect that we find traces of our archaic consonants,” Fancello says.

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He also states that there is no written record of Sardinian cuisine until 1909. It was in that year, when Vittorio Agneti, a doctor in continental Modena, traveled to the island and compiled six recipes in a book called “La Nkova Cucina delle Specialty Regional”. . “But we always eat earthworms,” ​​Fancello says. “Pliny the Elder, and Aristotle talked about it.”

Ten other Italian regions have larvae-infected cheese types, but only in Sardinia is it part of the food culture. It has many different names, such as Kasu Bekiu, Casu Fettittu, Hasu Muhidu, Formaggio Mercio. Each sub-region of the island has its own way of making it with different types of milk.

‘Magical and Supernatural Events’
Gastronomers inspired by the adventures of cooks such as Gordon Ramsay often visit the island in search of cheese, reports Fancello. “They ask us, ‘How do you make casu marju?” It is part of our history. We are children of this food. This chance is the result of magical and supernatural events. “

Fancello grew up in the city of Thessi with his father, Sebastiano, a pastor who created Casu Marzoo. Fasello led the family to graze the sheep around rural Rouzu. He recalls that, for his father, Kazuo Marzu was a divine gift. If his ants were not infected with insects, he would be frustrated. Some of the chinjas produced were for the family, others went to friends or people who asked for them.

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Typically, cashew marzoo is produced in late June, when the local sheep’s milk begins to change as the animals enter their reproductive period and the grass dries up with the heat of summer.

If a hot cirrocco winds up on the day of manufacture, the magic of making cheese works even more. Fankelo explains that this weakens the structure of food, which makes the work of the fly easier. After three months, he is ready.

66-year-old Mario Murokru keeps the traditions of Kasu Marzu alive on his farm, Agriturismo sa Mandra near Algero in northern Sardinia. He also raises 300 sheep, hosts tourists in his treetoria and keeps the cheese traditions alive.

“You know when a shape will become a cashew marzu,” he says. “You can see that from the unusual spongy texture of the dough,” Murokru says. Nowadays, production is no longer a matter of luck and chimemakers make ideal conditions to guarantee the largest possible number of casemazu. He also found a way to use glass jars to preserve cheese – which traditionally did not last for years – beyond September.

Photo: Giovanni Fansello

Penalty Although revered, the legal status of the cheese is controversial. Casu marzu is registered as a traditional Sardinian product and is therefore locally preserved. Nevertheless, it has been considered illegal by the Italian government since 1962 due to laws prohibiting the consumption of infected food by parasites. Those who sell cheese may face high fines of up to € 50,000 (about $ 330,000), but Franks laughs when asked about the ban on their beloved cheese.

In recent years, the European Union has begun to study and revive the notion of eating larvae for the concept of new food, where insects are bred to eat.

Research suggests that their consumption may help reduce carbon dioxide emissions associated with animal husbandry and mitigate climate crises. Roberto Flor, Head of Skylab Foodlab, Food Systems Transformation Laboratory at the Innovation Center of Technical University of Denmark, studies the concept of insect consumption.

For a few years, he led the research and development team at the Nordic Food Lab and tried to find ways to add insects to our diet. “Many cultures associate an insect with a component,” Flor says. Sardinians, however, prefer the worm to the cheeses and are often intimidated by the idea that people eat scorpions or wickets in Thailand.

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Flor says that he traveled around the world to study how different cultures capture insects in the form of food and believes that, although psychological constraints made it difficult to fundamentally change eating habits Given, this consumption is widespread.

To open the mind. Florey is convinced that Sardinian delicacy is safe to eat. “How do you define edible food?” Question. “Each region of the world has a different way of eating insects.”

“I believe that no one has died due to eating cashew nuts. If he died, he was probably drunk. You know, when you eat, you drink a lot of alcohol. “Florey hopes that Casu Marzoo will soon change its status as a clandestine and become a symbol of Sardinia – not because of its unusual production, but because other foods are disappearing because they are mainstream tastes. Are not worth

In 2005, researchers at the University of Sassari in Sardinia took the first step in this direction: they manufactured flies in the laboratory and infected pectino cheese to show them whether the process could be carried out in a controlled manner.

Island residents and researchers hope that the European Union will act to free the marketing of the cheese. Until then, whoever wants to try this will need to go around Sardinia.

For those who want to try it, cheese provides an authentic experience that recalls a time when nothing was thrown and when the boundaries of what was or was not edible were no less defined.

Locals keep an open mind about the best way to eat casu marzoo, but some other regional cuisines are known for helping cheese go down easily. “We spread Casu Marzoo on Carao, and eat it,” Flor says. “But you can eat as long as you want, as long as there is a little delicacy and a good canauna wine.”

(Translated text, Click here To read the original in English).

Muhammad Wayne

About the author: Muhammad Wayne

Wayne is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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