Do you know the casu marzu? The TF1 newscast went looking for him in Italy. And its journalists have encountered some difficulties in finding this special dish.
Direction Rome to begin the investigation of this famous cheese. Because yes, if you’ve never heard of it, the cazu marzu is. Ask the Italians if they don’t have one at home, their reactions of disgust are unanimous. So head for the store of a specialist, Francesco Loreti. “Do you sell cazu marzu?” Asks our reporter. “No,” Francesco replies. “I don’t sell it, it’s against the law.” An answer that arouses curiosity. What is so special about this cheese? “If you want to find some, you have to go to Sardinia,” says the cheese maker.
Neither one nor two, here is the TF1 team on their way to Sardinia. The investigation can begin. Casu marzu is sheep’s cheese. That’s good, on the way a herd and its breeder meet. “It is the milk of these sheep that gives the cazu marzu, nothing more is added,” he says. The search for its manufacturer begins. This is where our journalists meet Mario Murrocu, who welcomes them to his ripening cellar. He shows them all the cheeses he makes … no trace of the one we’re interested in.
But when asked about it, without mentioning the name of the cazu marzu, the producer immediately understands and takes the cameras to the back of the workshop, away from prying eyes. In a small crate, ten cheeses are packed. Mario grabs one of them and there hundreds, if not thousands of worms fall off the paper when he opens it. We then understand why its sale is prohibited and its consumption strongly discouraged. “There, I’ll check if the worms are inside,” he announces, slicing off the top of the cheese. “There aren’t many of them, but they are the ones that give the cheese its creamy texture,” he says, a little disappointed.
But how did all these maggots get there? Here’s the secret to making cazu marzu: instead of being stored in a closed place, it matures for a year with the door wide open for flies to lay their eggs, giving it “a peculiar smell.” “This cheese is priceless, says Mario Murrocu. I could sell it extremely expensive, but the law forbids me. It’s a shame because people here love it.”
On the black market, casu marzu sells for almost 1,000 euros per kilo, making it one of the most expensive cheeses in the world. Proof that he’s excellent? The TF1 team asks Giovanni, gastronome and specialist in Sardinian cuisine, to serve as a guinea pig. “It must be very fragrant. A strong scent of mature cheese,” he says. “It’s very interesting,” he reveals, tasting the cheese. “It explodes in the mouth, it’s very intense. With a rather tangy flavor that dominates.”
Unfortunately, we do not (to your regret, to be sure) not have the opportunity to give it to you to taste. But know that its scent inspired that of another cheese eaten in the cult scene from the movie Les Bronzés Go Skiing.
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