While it’s one thing to eat a cheese that smells like gym socks soaked in milk and left crumpled behind the toilet for weeks; you’ve entered a whole new class of repulsiveness when you bite into Casu Marzu — a putrefied cheese infested with live, wriggling maggots.
Once in your mouth, Casu Marzu is reported to cause more of a sensation than a “taste”: a kind of oral-digestive riot, starting with a strong burn in the mouth. They say it’s good with a full-bodied red, and doubles as an aphrodisiac. But what do “they” know, who eat larvae? As with most things, it’s unclear who to trust. It is advisable when taking a bite of Casu Marzu to cover your eyes. This is not to protect your mind from the nauseating sight; but to protect the eyes themselves from the maggots, who can and do leap up to six inches off the cheese, with malevolent precision.