The basic ingredient of Marcetto is over-ripe pecorino cheese and the cheesemaking process consists solely of the steps necessary to salvage the “bad” pecorino. Marcetto is produced throughout the region of Abruzzo, but the version from the Upper Teramo area is particularly prized. The ageing process lasts for about a year. Inside, the cheese is pale pink, creamy and has an extremely tangy flavour while the aroma is strong and pungent. Marcetto, also known as Formaggio Puntato (pitted cheese), is characterised by the presence of saltarelli, or “hoppers”. These are maggots, the larvae of the cheese fly, Piophila casei, which grow inside the cheese.
Although this traditional product has a long history of consumption, eating it can be risky: If live larvae are ingested, they can settle in the consumer’s digestive system, causing injury to the intestines. For this reason, European health safety standards prohibit the marketing of these cheeses