The Return of the Goat

“What do you mean, the old men of the village don’t come over to take a look at a building site in the UK?” asked my Italian friend, bewildered.

I was asking why, over the last month or so, a stream of people have walked, driven and peered over at our ongoing – and increasing – collection of bricks and dust. It would appear that putting up a crane is the equivalent of sending out a round of party invitations.

“But you’ve put up a wall?” this grey-haired, heavily-accented villager exclaimed disappointedly, having stepped across the threshold into what will become our new home. “Before it was all open-plan: entrance, kitchen, living room, all together…”

I briefly run him through the plans: this downstairs area will become a hidden laundry room, wine cellar and additional food storage space. I conveniently leave out the fact that the architect had initially wanted to put in another dividing wall to make this space even more fragmented. Continue reading “The Return of the Goat”

Casu Marzu – the “maggot cheese” from Sardinia

[August 2018]

I wrote about my experience of trying casu marzu for the travel site You’ll find it, under the “Unconventional Foods” section, here.

[July 2017]

I’ve already talked about mimolette (the cheese-mite / bed-bug cheese) which is often banned by the FDA in the USA for its high levels of *cough* “residual protein.” But mimolette is a walk in the park compared to its Sardinian cousin, casu marzu.

Casu marzu translates into English as the “rotten cheese” but it’s more commonly known outside of Sardinia by its nickname the “maggot cheese.” To the Sardinian people, however, it’s a symbol of national pride and of their cultural heritage.

Only a handful of people know how to make this sheep milk cheese (pecorino, in Italian) because, after a month of ageing, they make some long incisions into the cheese which encourages flies to lay their eggs in the very centre of the cheese. Continue reading “Casu Marzu – the “maggot cheese” from Sardinia”

Mimolette – the “cheese-mite cheese”

Mimolette is the famous French “cheese-mite cheese” – a term which sends shivers down the spine of the uninitiated and provoked wholly unjustified terror in the case of this journalist for the Kansas City Star!

It’s a round cheese, hailing from the French/Belgium border (near the city of Lille.) Its size is fractionally smaller than a bowling ball and has a rock hard exterior somewhat resembling the craters on the moon. The interior is bright orange, thanks to the addition of annatto – the same colorant also used for gouda.

What’s particular about this cheese is the fact that during the ripening stage, small mites nibble their way inside…  Continue reading “Mimolette – the “cheese-mite cheese””