Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Finding cheeses may be good for your soul, but not your digestion.

If you are of a sensitive disposition, please read no further. Just knowing what I am about to write about makes me feel quite queasy.

However, I do feel it my civic duty to offer this warning to any Brits abroad, not least my brother-in-law and his wife who are currently in Greece and living on a diet largely composed of local cheese.

They are there to be with their oldest boy, who is recovering from a nasty accident out there, so they have all been very much in our thoughts over the past week or so. Having watched last night’s episode of “The F Word” I felt particularly compelled to get this warning to them.

The show featured a local Sardinian ‘delicacy’ – billed as the most dangerous cheese in the world. Made in the traditional way, the sheeps cheese is matured and then the crust is broken and it is left in a dank barn. Here, it attracts flies that have presumably got a bit bored with treading around in cow dung and come to cheeseland for a bit of a holiday. While they’re there they lay their eggs and in a few weeks, the cheese is teaming with maggots. Apparently it’s the little critters’ excrement that gives the cheese its ‘distinctive’ flavour.

Now, call me a fuddy-duddy, but what the hell is that about. I’m as partial as the next man to a spot of mouldy stilton, but I use a ruler and a fat black felt tip when it comes to drawing a line at spreading rotting, maggot-infested cheese on my digestives. I don’t remember it being

“Little Miss Muffet
Sat on her tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider
And sat down beside her
Attracted by the smell of maggots on her breath.”

I mean, if that’s a delicacy, I could empty my wheely-bin each week and set up a bloody deli-bar. If I run short of rotting scraps I can scrape up some road-kill.

Sorry, I had to get that out of my system. So for goodness sake, be careful if you are offered any local specialities – remember, ‘tasty grub’ might be more than you bargained for.

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