Pages

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Ted and the mighty "mites"


… that will be Marmite and Vegemite then … two of the most popular yeast spreads in the UK and Australasia today.  It seems that you are either a Marmite person ("like it or hate it" as the slogan goes) or a Vegemite person, with very few people liking both, apart from Italians apparently ...

Both “mites” are made from spent brewer’s yeast … yep used yeast, a secret process with a few secret ingredients thrown in, a bit of alchemy, and voila you have either Marmite or Vegemite.  Marmite actually came first and shot to fame and fortune when we discovered vitamins in 1912, and realised that it was a very rich source of the vitamin B complex, composing of (hard to spell) good stuff like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid. Pretty soon Marmite was in every lunch box in the country and in the rations of all the front line British troops in World War I.

The war led to the disruption of Marmite supplies to Australia so the Australian’s just got on an invented their own and called it Vegemite.

They duly shipped it across the sea to New Zealand and got them hooked on it too. In fact the two products are still very similar in vitamin and nutrient content today, with only Vitamin B12 being missing from the Vegemite goodies line up for some reason.

A NZ health food manufacturer called Sanitarium quickly got in on the act and negotiated an agreement with the UK Marmite manufacturers to allow changes to the Marmite recipe to make it more to Antipodean tastes, and that they could then sell that version “down under”. 


In 2011, the NZ Marmite factory had to shut down as a result of a devastating earthquake suffered in the city of Christchurch, and when Sanitarium announced that its back stocks of Marmite had run out New Zealanders rushed to their supermarkets in a fit of frenzied panic buying calling Marmite “black gold” and labelling the shortage crisis “Maramageddon”. Supplies are now thankfully back to normal.

Marmite and Vegemite are both consumed in various ways and added to numerous dishes to bring that savoury, salty, umami like flavour.  Why you can even buy Marmite crisps and cashew nuts baked with Marmite. My favourite way to eat it is to spread some nice warm toast with butter and once that melts I spread some "mite" on top – see if you can tell which is which “mite” on the toasts.

So which one do you like Ted … well I am, as the Australian advertising jingle from the 1950’s proclaimed, … “a happy little Vegemite”     




9 comments:

Gunn said...

I don`t like Marmite.
The other type I have never tasted.

But there are English people here in Stavanger who LOVE it. It has been in my suitcase after visiting the UK, as a present to someone British..... as a little gift.
Now, I even think it is possible to buy it here in some of the BIG food shops.

Luis Gomez said...

Great post Ted.

Aimeecakes said...

I've never tried marmite but I looove vegemite. Toast with a little butter and vegemite and avocado - heaven

jennyfreckles said...

Maybe I'l have to give Vegemite a try. I've always been a Marmite girl.

Sharon Anck said...

I have never tried either. I'm more of a Nutella kind of girl.

William Kendall said...

I've never seen either here.

Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams said...

Marmite spread over hot buttered crumpets... Heaven! Even better with an egg on top... bliss! I am not however a fan of vegemite, it always leaves a nasty aftertaste with me.

Adullamite said...

Having had Vegemite forced down my throat by an Aussie woman I must say I prefer that, less bitter but not easy to get out in the sticks.

Bill Nicholls said...

No self respecting Englishman would eat Vegimite, though my son eats it and it's as much as I can do to have it in the house. Much prefer Marmite myself.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...