Derived from Pecorino, casu marzu goes above and beyond typical fermentation to a stage of decomposition, brought about by the digestive action of the larvae of the cheese fly Piophila casei.
These larvae are deliberately introduced to the cheese, promoting an advanced level of fermentation and breaking down of the cheese's fats.
The texture of the cheese becomes very soft, with some liquid seeping out.
The larvae themselves appear as translucent white worms, about 8 mm (0.3 in) long.
When disturbed, the larvae can launch themselves for distances up to 15 cm (6 in).
Some people clear the larvae from the cheese before consuming while others do not.
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