Two Dishes NOT to Try on Holiday!
When booking a holiday, one of the things I most look forward to is tasting the traditional dishes and local culinary highlights at my destination. However, it may be wise to exert some caution when deciding whether or not to try some local delicacies… before you end up in jail, or even dead!
Sardinian food is largely similar to that of mainland Italy. Lots of dishes of meat, fish, cheese and pasta, sometimes up to seven courses in one sitting! You’ll notice that the Sardinians hold their cheese in particular high regard, and they are notorious for the production of Pecorino cheese. However there is one cheese that I would certainly steer clear of. Casu Marzu – also known as ‘maggot cheese’ is matured in the open air allowing flies to lay eggs inside the cheese. The maggots then breed, bringing with them rot and putrefaction, and apparently, a desirable soft and moist consistency. If the maggots are dead the cheese is considered toxic, so the larvae are eaten live and worse still, once spread on your bread a live maggot can jump up to six inches! Worries over the hygiene levels of producing Casu Marzu went so far as to render it illegal for a brief period, but it is now back on the menu in Sardinia. Though for me the thought of a chunk of maggot-infested cheese makes a stronger deterrent than the law!
If you are venturing to Japan in search of seafood and sushi, BEWARE! One of their local favourites is Fugu, a blowfish which, if cooked incorrectly, can kill you! The deadly delicacy contains tetrodoxin, a poison 1200 times more potent than cyanide. It might reassure you somewhat to know that chefs are recommended to train for at least three years to master the delicate preparation methods required to ensure the fish is safe, and that restaurants must even have certification to serve it. Still, eating Fugu is a bit like playing Russian roulette – if it is prepared by an untrained chef, you may be dead within minutes!