When you think about it, all cheese is weird—it’s hardened milk that smells kind of weird (but tastes pretty good). However, here are some a little bit more out there than your everyday cheddar or Parmesan.
Stilton is a rich, pungent variety of blue cheese made in England. In 2013, cheesemaker Clawson unveiled the most expensive cheese in British history: at 608 pounds a kilogram (about $1,000), its made with liqueur made out of gold, and stunted with real edible gold flakes.
Donkey Milk Cheese
If an animal makes milk, that milk can be turned into cheese. Even donkey milk. The Zasavica Special Nature Reserve in Serbia produces a donkey milk cheese. It’s white, crumbly, and uses no ingredients besides the milk. But it also costs $1,700 a pound, because it takes about 14 gallons donkey milk to produce just one pound of donkey cheese.
Vieux Lille is produced in France, where it’s also known as Puant Macéré, which translates to “stinking pickle.” According to cheese experts, whom we will take that their word, this is the salty cheese is the stinkiest in the world.
Pecorino cheese is a nutty, Italian cheese, similar to (but more upmarket than) Parmesan. Casu Marzu begins life as pecorino, in the Sardinia area, where sheep farmers make the cheese and leave it to rot for months so it will attract flies, which then lay eggs in the cheese. Once those fly larvae hatch, the cheese is transformed into Casu Marzu…and is traditionally meant to be eaten with the tiny bugs.
Don’t want to eat tiny bugs? We can’t blame you. How about their excrement? Milbenkase is a German cheese that starts with Quark (a dairy product similar to cottage cheese), which is left for months among dust mites, along with some rye. The mites eat the rye and onto the cheese excrete a special enzyme that both ripens the cheese and turns it black.