If you surveyed university students for what they craved after a long night of partying studying, I doubt that cheesecake would be high on their list. But for students at Kyoto University in Japan, last week’s dessert special at the school’s cafe had an extra special ingredient that had people lining up to get a taste. Even in an age when gastronomy has become exceedingly popular, it isn’t every day that one has the chance to try a sweet pastry made from gorilla turds.
No, that isn’t a typo for curds. Research scientists at the university were investigating the feces of western gorillas in Africa when they isolated a certain type of bacteria. Although the bacteria usually remains within the intestines of the great ape, on occasion some attaches onto the excrement as it leaves the gorilla’s body.
Although it is unclear what compelled the researchers to undertake a culinary experiment, they returned to the university and cultivated the bacteria in their lab. From there, they used the bacteria to produce a yogurt that was subsequently made into cheesecake. To all outward appearances the cheesecake looks and smells normal. Although only 150 servings were made available, selling for 399 Yen, or about $3, those who tasted the confectionery creation claimed that it had a unique taste and a distinct flavor. Talk about an understatement.