Presenter: On the Italian island of Sardinia, there's a delicacy that's been consumed for thousands of years. It is known as the world's most dangerous cheese. Yeah, you heard right.
Meet Simone Ibba, a third-generation sheep farmer.
Simone Ibba (in Italian): We have about 250 or 300 sheep that produce milk. We use some of this milk to make a cheese called casu marzu.
Presenter: Casu marzu literally means 'rotten cheese', and it's not for the faint of heart. Because this cheese is infested with thousands of live maggots. And while that might seem a bit off-putting at first, it's the maggots that give the cheese its distinctive texture and flavour. Here's how it works.
First, a traditional wheel of pecorino cheese is made from sheep's milk. Then, a special fly, called the cheese fly, is allowed to lay its eggs in it.
Simone Ibba (in Italian): In about 40 days, the cheese wheel will be completely invaded by cheese flies and their larvae.
Presenter: Over the course of two to three months, the maggots eat the cheese and then excrete it out again – transforming it into the soft and creamy casu marzu.
Simone Ibba (in Italian): The spicy, different, tasty, doughy flavour comes from the work that the fly does.
Presenter: Today, it's a favourite for special occasions like weddings and birthday parties. But eating this cheese can be dangerous.
Simone Ibba (in Italian): Some people think that the larvae will continue to live inside you. It's not like that. Otherwise, we'd be full of maggots because we've eaten them for a lifetime.
Presenter: Even though cases like this are extremely rare, it's risky enough that the cheese is illegal to sell. But farmers like Simone continue to make it for themselves.
Simone Ibba (in Italian): Few people know how to make casu marzu cheese any more, but I've always known it; my grandmother knew it, my grandfathers, my uncles.
Presenter: And they just can't get enough.
Simone Ibba (in Italian): Casu marzu cheese with prosciutto and a slice of melon – it's to die for.
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