I’d heard about this supposedly delicious $600/pound kopi luwak coffee before with a flavor that “has a top note of rich, dark chocolate, with secondary notes that are musty and earthy” and a scent that has “the smell of moist earth after a rainfall, with hints of vanilla, that teases the palate for hours after the cup is empty.”
If I ever have the opportunity to try this rare coffee, I will.
I am also fond of imported cheeses, so this section of the same article really caught my attention.
[Canadian food scientist Massimo] Marcone is one of the world’s leading experts on foods that make most people go yuck! He recently wrote a book on the subject. One thing that really gets his glands salivating is casu frazigu cheese, which is packed with so many live maggots that it’s not only disgusting, the Italian government outlawed it.
“The rotten cheese has millions of live maggots in it, and it’s very highly prized all through Italy,” Marcone said. “It sells under the counter for about $100 a pound. As you’re carrying your bag with the cheese in it, you can actually hear the maggots hitting the side of the bag.
“People eat the cheese and maggots altogether. There’s nothing in there that can cause harm.”
From there I went to Wikipedia where I found the cheese is also known as casu marzu.
Derived from Pecorino Sardo, casu marzu goes beyond typical fermentation to a stage most would consider decomposition, brought about by the digestive action of the larvae of the cheese fly Piophila casei. These larvae are deliberately introduced to the cheese, promoting an advanced level of fermentation and breaking down of the cheese’s fats. The texture of the cheese becomes very soft, with some liquid (called lagrima, from the Sardinian for “tears”) seeping out. The larvae themselves appear as translucent white worms, about 8 mm (1/3 inch) long. When disturbed, the larvae can jump for distances up to 15 cm (6 inches), prompting recommendations of eye protection for those eating the cheese. Some people clear the larvae from the cheese before consuming; others do not.
I’ll be in Italy next month but, when I visit the cheese shops, I think I’ll pass if I’m offered some casu marzu.