Have you ever had some cheese that disgusted you when you first encountered it, but when you tasted it you realized just how great it is? That is the exact definition of a “best worst cheese”! Some of these cheeses crawl with maggots.
There’s a distinct rotten foot odor to them. Some, on the other hand, have a putrid sock stench. Even if your stomach turns at the prospect of tasting it, all of them have flavor profiles that make your tongue smile with pleasure… even if you don’t want to eat it.
Is it gross cheese that’s been sitting in its own filth for a year? Or are they something wonderful?
The Best Worst Cheese in the World
1) Casu Marzu
Of course, the first cheese on this list has to be Casu Marzu, which is a Sardinian cheese that literally translates from the Sardinian language as “rotten cheese.”
It is made from sheep’s milk and it goes beyond the fermentation stage to the decomposition stage when it is consumed. It gets to this decomposition stage thanks to the purposeful introduction of insect larvae, namely the cheese fly.
The larvae eat the rotten cheese, break down the fats of the dairy product, and this increases the overall fermentation of the cheese.
The cheese is eaten when the maggots from the introduced insect eggs are actively crawling. This is the only cheese that is of this kind. The flavor of the cheese is extremely sharp and can linger in your mouth for several hours. Don’t worry though – it is generally considered unsafe to eat the cheese if the maggots have died.
If you’ve refrigerated the cheese, however, you’re still free to ingest!
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The only way to describe walking into a closet that is storing Limburger cheese is that it smells like you just stuck your nose into some liquid armpit sweat. This worst cheese originated in the Limburg area of Europe [hence the name of the cheese], which is now portions of the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium.
It isn’t the most popular cheese you’ll find in the United States – most of the cheese you’ll find, in fact, comes from one cheese plant in Monroe, Wisconsin.
Limburger ferments by having bacteria smeared on top of it. It’s the same bacteria that you’ll find on your own body, which is why this kind of cheese smells like it needs a shower.
When it’s first made, it actually looks like and tastes like feta cheese. After 3 months, however, the cheese becomes creamy and smelly. Mosquitoes, in fact, are just as attracted to the cheese as they are to human feet! Enjoy!
Pule is a tough cheese to get your hands on. It’s so difficult, in fact, that you’ll generally have to buy the milk to make it yourself! For some, that’s enough to throw in the cheesecloth [see what I did there?], but for avid home cooks, the challenge is on! The real difficulty in Pule is the price – it’s $1,700 per pound. Why? Because it’s made from donkey milk.
To be fair, the cheese doesn’t taste that bad as long as you ignore how much money you’re actually consuming with each bite. It takes about 25 liters of donkey milk to make just two pounds of cheese and then, just for added flavor, it is smoked.
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4) Epoisses de Bourgogne
Said to be Napoleon’s favorite cheese, the stench of Epoisses de Bourgogne is so strong that it has been banned from being transported publicly in private vehicles in France. It too is a smear-ripened cheese, with a similar bacteria that you’ll find with Limburger.
The only difference? The cheese is also routinely washed in water and marc, a liquor that’s a side effect of winemaking and a bit like brandy.
In 6 weeks, you get a stunningly powerful cheese that reminds you of the time Uncle Fred had a contest with his co-worker about who could wear the same shirt to work the longest.
Over time, the cheese will even begin to smell like ammonia. That’s your signal to throw it away. It’s generally served with wine and crackers because it can get awfully runny. My recommendation is that you grab a clothespin for your nose on this one!
If you don’t mind body bacteria on your cheese and maggots are fine as well, that’s why not enjoy some food that has been flavored with mite excrement?
That’s what you’ll get with Milbenkäse, which is fermented by cheese mites. Even the start of the Milbenkäse making process sounds bad – it’s made from quark, which is essentially warmed-up milk that has already gone sour.
Not the sour cream kind of sour, mind you, but the “my toddler left a sippy cup full of milk under my bed for three days” kind of sour.
It is made exclusively in Germany in the village of Würchwitz and at one point, four decades ago, only one person actually knew how to put the mites into the cheese in such a way that they would ferment it by eating it and pooping it out.
To help you get around that “poopy” flavor component, caraway, salt, and rye are added to the quark during the making process. If there are still mites in the cheese, don’t worry – it’s traditional to eat them too!
6) Vieux Lille
Last but not least maybe the one cheese that requires the most discipline to eat. It’s a salty cheese, which makes it pair very well with a number of dishes.
French food tradition has it that the French miners ate this cheese heartily every day at the bottom of the mine. Perhaps they ate it there because the mine could cover up the smell of the cheese!
There are not many kinds of cheese that actually qualify as “putrid,” but this one is by far the winner. Best of all [or worst of all], the smell just gets stronger with age.
Pairing this cheese with either black coffee or some good beer makes for a good snack. And, if you happen to be a doomsday prepper, you might also want to keep one of your stored gas masks nearby just in case you get an older bit of cheese.
Do you have a “best worst” kind of cheese that you love that didn’t make this list? Share your love with us below and why it is your favorite!
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Roquefort is a type of blue cheese that is made from raw sheep milk. It is produced in the south of France, and it is considered to be a very prestigious cheese for the French. Roquefort has been banned in Australia and New Zealand, but it is starting to become more popular in those countries.
Roquefort is very good but can also have a pungent smell to it. The reason it’s been banned is that the Sheep’s milk hasn’t been pasteurized. This means that there is a risk of contracting listeria, which can be fatal for some people.
However, many people believe that the taste of Roquefort is worth the risk.
8) Cream cheese
Cream cheese is one of the strangest cheeses in the world. Americans can take cream cheese for granted because it’s a staple here, but like all dairy products, the quality and taste will vary depending on where you live.
The Philadelphia brand comes straight from Pennsylvania which has some of the best pastures in America.
This cheese is strange and gross because it’s made with a lot of dairy additives and preservatives. It also doesn’t have a very strong taste, so it’s often mixed with other ingredients to give it some flavor. This can make it quite unhealthy, but for some, it tastes great.
The worst cream cheese can be found in the eastern part of Europe, where cow’s milk is combined with sheep’s or goat’s milk to create a runny, sour mess.
Äppelmöcka is a Swedish cheese that is known for its strong flavor. It is made from a mixture of cow’s milk and apple cider and has a crumbly texture. Although it is not the most popular cheese in the world, Äppelmöcka has a strong following among cheese lovers. Those who like it, really like it, and those who don’t, usually find it too strong.
Here are ways that Äppelmöcka is typically served:
- Serve it with fruit or crackers
- Pair it with a fruity white wine
- Shave it over a salad
- Use it in place of Parmesan cheese in pasta dishes
10) American cheese
image by Steve Spring, aka Lazarus-long at en.wikipedia
American cheese is disgusting because it’s made with a lot of dairy additives and preservatives. It also doesn’t have a very strong taste, so it’s often mixed with other ingredients to give it some flavor. It’s quite harmful to some people, yet it may taste wonderful.
An example of this cheese is Kraft Singles is one of the most popular American cheeses. It’s made with a lot of dairy additives and preservatives, which gives it a bad reputation among health-conscious people. However, many people believe that it has great taste.
The cheese has sort of a plastic feel to it and is soft, but not soft like a spreadable creamy milk cheese.
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If you’re new to the world of cheese, then be sure to try some of the best worst kinds of cheese out there. They may not be the most popular or prestigious, but they’re sure to give you a good idea of what different kinds of cheese taste like. And, who knows, you may even find a new favorite among them. Or open your eyes to new cultural norms.
All of these cheeses have something in common: they are all disgusting because they are made with a lot of dairy additives and preservatives or use alternative aging methods.
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What is the grossest cheese?
The most repulsive cheese of all time is Casu Marzu, which is literally translated as “maggot cheese.” This Sardinian specialty is made from pecorino cheese, which acts as a perfect breeding ground for maggots.
What is the weirdest type of cheese?
Some types of cheese can be considered strange or unusual due to their texture, flavor, or appearance. The two strangest kinds of cheese are Äppelmöcka and Casu Marzu.
Äppelmöcka is a Swedish cheese that gets its name (which means “apple fly”) from its small flies that lay eggs in the curds. The larvae add a slightly sour taste to the cheese. Meanwhile, Casu Marzu is a cheese in Sardinia that translates into maggot cheese, where the maggots are used to help fermentation and they also add a more intense flavor to the cheese. This cheese is so strange that it is actually illegal in the United States.
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