[Authors note: OK OK, I know by now I spread it on too thick. Kraft or Marmite should put instructions on something so powerful.]
[Update September 2nd, 2016: So I spend a month in Australia this weekend and formed a deep love for it. I loved Australia because they really embraced the gluten free world and the GF bread is fantastic. I had vegemite every day on toast with butter. I started out spreading it so thin but as time progressed so did the thickness of the spread. Fan for life. And I even like marmite now.]
What is vegemite? What does vegemite taste like? In America, we all grew up wondering what the hell does this mean:
“He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich” (Down Under, by Men at Work)
My folks are now Australian citizens for the past 12 years and they love their Vegemite. Often curious, I would ask, “what does it taste like?” The haters would respond, “salty”, while the evangelists would give you a look of pure dream pleasure and respond “savory”.
I used to suck. I didn’t try many things out of the norm when I visited in Australia. But after I chose “the red pill” (for you Matrix fans), I had to try this Vegemite.
Let me tell you, finding Vegemite even in a populated city such as Houston is not easy. But, I often saw Vegemite’s cousin, Marmite. When I inquired with experts, “can I just try Marmite and get the same experience?”, the turf wars began. East coast, west coast, bloods, crips, Marmite, Vegemite, the hate began to flow. We don’t realize this in the States, but Vegemite is Australian, and Marmite is English. You do not culturally mix the two. It’s like going to Japan and wearing shoes on carpet.
Marmite and Vegemite are cousins, they are both Yeast Extracts. I decided to buy both and decide which is better from an American palate. At first notice, they are both very thick. Marmite has more of a thick caramel (as if warmed but not) texture while Vegemite has more of a… I don’t know, a thick dark chocolate texture (as if warmed but not). These don’t exist in the American pool of food. From the texture alone, it’s just weird. But I am going to eat it.
Let’s try Marmite:
- The first split second, it taste like cheese whiz
- Then an overpowering salty “alcoholic” taste – which is very wierd
- It’s definitely savory, but way too strong in a way I don’t understand
Marmite – A cheesy, salty , mediciny, fermented, taste that doesn’t do good alone. I’m not gagging though, and somehow appreciate the nuances. Like a fine whiskey, this will be a developed acquired taste.
Let’s try Vegemite:
Crap, let me go clense my palate somehow, that Marmite LINGERS – my daughter just came down and said, “Whoa that stinks”. Crikey, that Marmite is strong. Hopefully I am not biased on the Vegemite as I type this in real time as I write.
- Less cheesiness, more fermentedness.
- Still very overpowering and salty, but not as quite as the Marmite
- The texture is like Velveeta
We don’t have anything that packs quite a punch in America that these have. It’s a spread, like cream cheese to a bagel. So I am going to go rest my palate try each one more time and give a summary. Wow, I am just trying to compare something that has a lasting impression on the ol’ taste buds. It doesn’t go away easy. Ok, I am back and I figured out a correlation to relate to. The robustness of these can be likened to an American IPA. IPA is an Indian Pale ale that has a very robust flavor. If you were to take a double IPA and reduce that to the consistency of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, add a bunch of salt, you might get close to what these two flavors are all about. No wonder my Aussie brother-in-law loved Arrogant Bastard so much. So now on to the toast test. This is an test to try to subdue the flavor an appreciate it on a balanced playing field – they say to use only a thin layer: Marmite: It’s spread easily like a warm jelly. Oh gosh, but still has that overpowering medicine flavor. Vegemite: Spreads like a cold peanut butter. And is much more acceptable to my taste than the Marmite. It’s more subdued. I don’t see myself using either in future snacks, but if there is one clear winner, I have to go with the Vegemite. It’s more balanced and falls from the palate more quickly allowing you to savor the taste instead of being kicked in the face constantly like the Marmite.
Fun fact I learned from Stef’s vegan experimental days: Did you know Vegans will use “nutritional yeast” to add a cheese flavor for their meals?
Give me a few more tries and I might find myself craving the Vegemite as my tastes evolve.
Good Lord, thankfully this is over. Let me get back to my habanero sauce.
We have to appreciate cultural tastes. It makes life awesome.
Cheers, and thanks. Let me know what you think about either.