A Stinky Tour Through Sardinia's Unique Cheeses

Love cheese? Then you've come to the right place! From the pungent and flavorful Casu Marzu to the creamy and rich Pecorino Sardo, Sardinian cheeses offer a diverse and delicious range of flavors and textures.

Read on as we take a stinky, maggot-filled tour through the diverse flavors of Sardinian cheese.   

Sardinian cheese is a unique type of cheese made on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, in Italy. It's made from sheep, goat, cow, or donkey milk, and it's often flavored with herbs and spices. The island is known for making cheese, and it is thought that over 200 different kinds of cheese are made there.  

The traditional production of Sardinian cheese is linked to the island's pastoral tradition and its nomadic shepherds. For centuries, Sardinians have been making cheese from the milk of their flocks, using recipes passed down from generation to generation.

Today, Sardinian cheese is still made using traditional methods. The cheeses are made from raw, unpasteurized milk, and they are aged in caves or cellars for several months. As a result, the cheeses have a unique flavor and aroma that's unlike any other cheese in the world.  

Different Types of Sardinian Cheese  

Sardinian cheese comes in many different varieties. The most common types of Sardinian cheese include Pecorino Sardo, Fiore Sardo, and Casizolu.

Pecorino Sardo is a semi-hard cheese made from sheep's milk that is aged for at least two months and has a sharp, salty flavor. It's often used as a grating cheese, and it's a popular ingredient in Italian dishes like pasta and risotto.

Fiore Sardo is a soft cheese made from raw sheep's milk. It's aged for at least three months and is usually eaten fresh. It has a mild, nutty flavor with a creamy texture and is often used as a spread on bread or crackers.

Casizolu is a semi-hard cheese made from raw sheep's milk. It's aged for at least six months and has a strong, salty flavor; it's often served as a table cheese or used in cooking.

The Unique History of Sardinian Cheese 

The history of Sardinian cheese production dates back to the Bronze Age. In fact, some of the oldest cheese-making tools ever discovered were found on the island. The tools were made of bronze and dated back to the 16th century BC.

Sardinian cheese production reached its peak during the Middle Ages, while the island was under the rule of the Spanish and the Piedmontese. Cheese was an important part of the local economy, and it was exported to other parts of Italy and beyond.

In the 19th century, the production of Sardinian cheese began to decline. It wasn't until the late 20th century that the production of traditional Sardinian cheese was revived. Today, the production of Sardinian cheese is still going strong.

An In-depth Look at Sardinian Sheep Milk Cheese with Maggots

Perhaps the most famous and controversial of all Sardinian cheeses is Casu Marzu, a pungent and soft cheese that is made with live maggots. That's right, you read that correctly: live maggots that are allowed to ferment the cheese from the inside out, creating a soft and creamy texture and a strong, pungent flavor.

This cheese is made from raw sheep's milk and aged for several months. During the aging process, the cheese is infested with live maggots. The maggots are harmless and are said to add flavor to the cheese.

The cheese is popular in Sardinia and is often served as a delicacy with bread, fruits, and wines. It has a strong, pungent aroma and a salty, nutty flavor.

The Controversy Around Sardinian Cheese with Maggots

Even though Casu Marzu is controversial and only a small amount of it is made and eaten, it is still a big part of Sardinian culture as well as cultures in other parts of Europe, where it is often spread on bread or used in traditional dishes.

In the US, the cheese is illegal because it is made with raw milk, which can contain bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses. As a result, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the sale and import of Sardinian sheep's milk cheese with maggots. The FDA also requires that all imported cheeses be made with pasteurized milk.

 The Health Benefits of Sardinian Cheese

 Sardinian cheese is a healthy and nutritious food, high in protein and calcium.

It's also rich in healthy fats and probiotics, which can help promote a healthy gut and boost the immune system.

Sardinian cheese also has anti-inflammatory properties and is said to be beneficial for the heart. Studies have shown that eating cheese can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

In addition, Sardinian cheese is said to have anti-aging properties, as the probiotics in the cheese can help reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging.

How to Enjoy Sardinian Cheese

Sardinian cheese is incredibly versatile, but the most common way to enjoy it is to eat it as a table cheese with bread, fruits, and wines. Sardinian cheese can also be flavored with herbs and spices such as rosemary, thyme, sage, and pepper.

It's often grated and used as a topping for pasta and risotto, and can also be melted and used to make sauces and soups. Sardinian cheese is also perfect for making delicious cheese boards.

Overall, the history of Sardinian cheese is long and rich, with a variety of delicious and unique cheeses being produced on the island for centuries. It is a true culinary treasure that is enjoyed by cheese lovers around the world. Whether you're looking for a unique cheese experience or a healthy snack, Sardinian cheese is sure to hit the spot.