Casu Marzu, a sheep's milk cheese from Sardinia and area, is most noted for containing maggots. The maggots are the larvae of a cheese fly and are intentionally introduced to the cheese itself. They help break down the fat components in the cheese causing it to be very soft and in some cases it even oozes a liquid.
The maggots are just under a centimeter in length but have the habit of flinging themselves out of the cheese when disturbed. They can actually fling themselves 15 cm in distance (almost a hand's length). When served on bread the consumer may cover their food with their hand to stop the maggots from flinging themselves into the diner's eyes.
|Photo by Shardan, via Wikimedia Commons|
Other times, when diners are not so fond of eating the live maggots, the cheese is placed in a bag and the maggots tend to fling themselves out of the cheese as they use up the air in the bag. Similarly it can be placed in the fridge to kill the maggots and consumed afterwards.
Casu Marzu cheese is said to have a strong taste, soft texture, and lingering aftertaste. It is often served with a red wine.
It is often said to be dangerous due to the risk of maggots potentially surviving being eaten and causing health problems in the person who consumed the cheese. For this reason it is considered illegal (laws regarding this are back and forth). Nonetheless it is popular for special occasions.
A few other cheeses throughout Italy and France are also made and/or served with the intentional use of maggots, cheese mites, or other arthropods.