Monday night I had a couple beers at Arbor Brewing Company with chassy, mary_mary_, Robyn, and Luis.
We were talking about chassy's upcoming trip to West Africa and some of the strange foods he might be offered: barbecued palm grubs the size of egg rolls. I said anything large enough to be properly barbecued and sliced shouldn't be that repulsive.
Luis responded by telling us that he was once in Bogota, Colombia, and that they had a delicacy there that he absolutely could not stand. He said they took a huge ball of cheese and bored out the center. They filled the center with red wine, corked it with the bored-out cheese, and let it sit outside for three days.
In three days they opened the cheese, but the wine-soaked cheese was not the delicacy in itself. The center moving--alive--filled with wriggling white worms. Luis said they had tiny forks with long handles to skewer these larvae and twirl them around like little noodles. Luis's hand-gestures and facial expressions were hilarious: imagine 4 o'clock tea, pinkies out, and moaning with delight as you devour live creepy-crawlies.
They goaded him into trying one, whereupon he grossed them out by grabbing the larva with his fingers instead of using a special fork.
Is Luis on crack? Is he putting us on? Can there really be such a vile practice? I hunted around and found, not evidence from Bogota, but from Italy--Sardinia, to be precise: Worm Cheese, AKA casu marzu.
That article references a writer for The Wall Street Journal named Yaroslav Trofimov. Wait a minute--Yaroslav Trofimov? That sounds even more fake than Morton D. Ballard! That's the the fakest name I've ever heard!
Yet, Yaroslav Trofimov does seem to have quite a number of WSJ articles to his credit.
Is it real? I can't tell. But I present to you: casu marzu!