Andrew Zimmern's show on The Travel Channel, Bizzare Food, is just that. But on Monday, he introduced me to a "delicacy" that I'm just not sure I can get behind. In Nicaragua, there is a cheese born of necessity. Apparently, there is an insect that loooves to lay its eggs in milk. If the olden days, when insects laid eggs in all the milk, they would still need to use the milk - they'd just work around them. This went for the cheese too. I'm not quite sure how it works, but somehow, the eggs stay in the cheese and when the soft cheese gets served on a beautiful fruit plate with mangoes and star fruit, it is wriggling with maggots! O.M.G. Just a little too much. Ok, a lot too much. Apparently, the maggots in this "juicy worm cheese" give the cheese a certain pungent sweetness. Its a local specialty. Urf. I think I'll stick with other regional favorites if I ever get there. If you're braver than me, let me know how it is!
So, I thought it was just a really local, bizarre food thing. But no! When you Google "maggot cheese" Wikipedia (I know, I know...) pops up with Casu Marzu, a cheese from Sardinia that is fermented by little worms introduced later in the cheese making process to break down the fats in the cheese, making it incredibly soft. When it's ready to eat, it will have thousands of living, wriggling worms in it! In fact, if the worms have vacated, the cheese is considered too rancid to eat. Again, urf. I think I prefer my cheese with a little bit more built in inertia!
Somehow, the cheese mites in Mimolette seem positively tame! At least the bugs are gone before you eat it, and they don't make it past the rind!
Sweet dreams - if you can! Mwa ha ha ha!