Shit Bean Coffee and Maggot Cheese

Shit Bean Coffee and Maggot Cheese

I drink a lot of coffee, so when I come across an article about it I usually read it.  Last week the Los Angeles Times ran a story about Indonesian coffee made from beans extracted from civet dung.

civet dung containing coffee beans
civet dung containing coffee beans

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.

Casu Marzu maggott cheese

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.

10 thoughts on “Shit Bean Coffee and Maggot Cheese

  1. The key here is to wash this dish down with Alpine goat urine. The shit coffee may cause indigestion. The goat urine is very smooth on the system. Now the pygmies from borneo secrete a toxin from boils that surface on their skin. A spoonful of that creamy substance immediately after eating the maggot cheese (aside from serving as a tasty desert) will help keep everything you’ve ingested from coming up and ruining the nutritional benefits of your meal. However, if the meal does come back up.. the great thing about it is that this mixed combination will form yet another meal (once cooled of course). Bon Appetit!

  2. I thought about writing a research paper on casu marzu but I couldn’t find enough sources. It’s so gross, though. I don’t care what anyone says, I can’t eat cheese some maggot spit on, melted, and the pooped out. Sorry. Disgusting. I heard it doesn’t even taste good. Someone said it’s very sour with a bad after-taste, and another said it’s extremely salty. Yuck. As far as the crap coffee, I’ll pass on that too. Ugh. What are people thinking?? Like you can’t make eating poop sophistacted! Well, supposedly you can. Smh.

  3. I should start force feeding my cat coffee beans, and sifting through the litter box to see if I can make a few quick bucks. I saw both of those items featured on Andrew Zimmers bizarre foods. I love that show ,..even if I wouldn’t put half of that stuff in my mouth

  4. Gross. What do they mean the cheese isn’t completely toxic if the maggots are still alive?? Maggots live in shit too, but you won’t catch me eating that either!

  5. Hi,
    The rest of that Wikipedia article about maggot cheese does mention that those maggots can sometimes eat through the intestines of those who eat them. Apparently stomach acid does not kill the larvae as they go through the GI tract.

    I think I’ll pass, too. Blecch!

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