Unveiling the Divisive Italian Delicacy: The Dish from Italy That Leaves Other Cultures Divided

Italy, the land of pizza, pasta, and gelato, is renowned for its rich culinary heritage. However, there’s one Italian dish that has been a subject of debate among food enthusiasts worldwide. This dish is none other than the Casu Marzu, a traditional Sardinian cheese that is as controversial as it is unique. While some hail it as a delicacy, others are repulsed by its preparation and characteristics. Let’s delve deeper into the world of Casu Marzu and understand why it leaves other cultures divided.

The Making of Casu Marzu

Casu Marzu, also known as ‘rotten cheese’, is a sheep milk cheese that has gone beyond the typical fermentation process to a stage most would consider decomposition. The cheese is left in the open, allowing cheese flies to lay eggs inside it. The larvae from these eggs help break down the cheese’s fats, making it soft and creamy. Once the cheese has reached the desired level of decomposition, it is consumed, often with the live maggots still inside.

The Controversy Surrounding Casu Marzu

The primary reason for the controversy surrounding Casu Marzu is its preparation method. The idea of consuming a product infested with live maggots is repulsive to many. Moreover, there are potential health risks associated with eating Casu Marzu. The larvae can survive in the human stomach and lead to pseudomyiasis, a parasitic infection. Due to these health concerns, the cheese has been banned in several countries, including the United States.

The Cultural Significance of Casu Marzu

Despite the controversy and health risks, Casu Marzu holds a significant place in Sardinian culture. It is often served during special occasions and celebrations. Many Sardinians consider it a delicacy and believe that it represents their resilience and connection to the land. The cheese is also a symbol of Sardinian defiance against food regulations and standardization.


Like Surströmming in Sweden, natto in Japan, durian in Thailand, and gefilte fish in Jewish culture, Casu Marzu is a dish that divides opinion. While it may not appeal to everyone’s palate, it is a testament to the diversity and richness of global food cultures. Whether you find it intriguing or repulsive, there’s no denying that Casu Marzu is a dish that leaves a lasting impression.