Marmite

The correct name for a large pot usually with legs with a lid for cooking and holding soup.

Now more commonly known as a brand of savoury spread made from a by-product of the beer brewing process, the yeast extract Marmite is a popular UK sandwich and toast spread similar to Australia's Vegemite and Switzerland's Cenovis.

Contents

Introduction

The Marmite Food Extract Company was formed in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England, in 1902. It is now a trademark owned by the multinational company, Unilever.

Marmite is a rich source of the vitamin B complex; vitamin B12 is not naturally found in yeast extract, but is added to Marmite during manufacture.

Advertised variously as "The Growing Up Spread" and "My Mate, Marmite", Marmite tends to be an acquired taste, with no middle ground. It is the food item most commonly missed and imported by British expatriates in other countries. People tend to love it or hate it, and this was used as a major advertising campaign for the company. Two websites have been set up where either camp are invited to leave their comments: I love Marmite (http://www.ilovemarmite.com/) and I hate Marmite (http://www.ihatemarmite.com/). The snack food Twiglets is flavoured with a substance resembling Marmite.

The spread is packaged in a distinctive bulbous brown glass jar. The shape is meant to resemble a cooking pot, for which the French word is la marmite; the label has a picture of the cooking pot. An occasional surreal sight on British roads is a large tanker lorry (presumably taking yeast to the factory) with the round end of the tank painted to resemble the Marmite jar and label.

A common mistake made by those new to Marmite (almost invariably non-Britons) is to spread it thickly, like the chocolate spread it resembles. In fact it should be thinly spread as it has a very concentrated taste.

Some British supermarket chains now sell their own brands of yeast extract.

In advertising Marmite, the 'love it or hate its element of its popularity has often been accentuated and even encouraged. In one infamous 2004-2005 UK TV advert which plagarises the Steve McQueen film The Blob, people run screaming from a huge brown/black slime monster until some realise that it is actually Marmite and then jump headlong into the sticky mess with glee. Of course the subtext of the advert is a 'don't knock it until you've tried it' message. The advertisement was dropped after being screened on children's television: concerned parents reported the advert after it traumatised children into having nightmares and vowing never to watch TV again. (Is that such a bad thing? ;-)

What's in Marmite?

Mosquito Control

Some people believe that consuming Marmite wards against mosquitos, the (untested) reasoning being that the skin gives off a scent, unnoticeable to humans, which mosquitos find unappealing. British travellers to tropical locations sometimes take Marmite with them to eat during the trip.

Serving suggestions

The following is a list of uses of Marmite.

  • Marmite on toast, plain and simple. Obviously. Probably best appreciated with a cup of tea.
  • Marmite on toast (spread slightly more thickly than you otherwise might) with grilled tomato squashed on top, with black pepper (a crucial ingredient).
  • Baked beans on Marmite on toast. The ultimate supper!
  • Marmite and cheese "toastie"; Marmite, cheese, and often tomato, all grilled on a slice of bread. Add oregano, pepper, mushroom, ham as you please. Make a meal of them.
  • Marmite on toast with iceberg lettuce or cucumber on top. Sounds too simple for words, but try it.
  • Marmite on toast with scrambled egg on top is another delicious combination worth trying.
  • Marmite on bread or toast with peanut butter, add a slice of cucumber to moisten.
  • Marmite, Philadelphia Light (soft cheese) and cucumber sandwiches (not toast, but this also works well) - a brilliant combo.
  • Marmite and Cheddar cheese sandwich.
  • Marmite on toast with slices of avocado, lemon juice and black pepper.
  • Marmite on toast with slices of banana (or mashed banana) on top. Sounds odd, but it's another brilliant combo (and hangover cure?)
  • Marmite can be used to add flavour to soups, stews and casseroles, in the manner of stock.
  • A small amount on a spoon, dipped into dry Tang powder.
  • Marmite on buttered toast, with orange marmalade. The two moderate each other's strong tastes.
  • Marmite with honey on toast: similar to the above.
  • Marmite on biscuit/cookie. This is good for those who want the good properties of marmite and would like to wash it down with tea/coffee/milk.
  • Marmite dissolved in milk and heated to about 50 degrees Celsius. Add some sugar or honey for sweetening and it makes a very healthy drink.
  • Marmite spread on a toasted crumpet with grated cheddar cheese on top. Toast for a few seconds longer to melt the cheese.
  • Marmite spread on toast with avocado on top. Delicious!
  • Marmite on toast with Tahini.
  • Marmite on chocolate spread coated toast. Change the amount of Marmite in proportion to the amount of chocolate spread. Delicious sweet and salty combination.
  • Marmite can be used as the base for a meaty tasting but vegetarian gravy. Simply dissolve some Marmite in boiling water along with smooth peanut butter, pureed tomatoes, herbs (e.g. thyme) and a little flour as thickener. It looks right and tastes yummy!

Outlets

Marmite is widespread and available in most food stores in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India and Sri Lanka. The variety of Marmite available in Australia and New Zealand is however significantly different in taste to UK Marmite and comes in different packaging; it is manufactured by the company Sanitarium (but see New Zealand entry below). In the following countries it is at least available in big supermarkets and health food stores: Israel, South Africa, The Netherlands.

Elsewhere, Marmite is still quite unknown, and hard to find (July 2004). Hence, we present a list of stores where one could find Marmite, sorted by country.

Canada

Marmite is often found in many Canadian supermarkets (only in a smallish pot) but usually in the section with dried yeast and other baking goods.

France

Paris:

  • Bon-marche, UK food section (Metro. Sevres-Babylone)
  • Passage Bradley, Indian Allimentations (M. Chateau d'eau, 10e)

Japan

Stocked by the Meiji-ya store, which has outlets in the Ginza and Roppongi districts of Tokyo. Only the smallest-sized pot is on sale, at a hefty 700 Yen or so (around US$7).

New Zealand

British-style Marmite is available in branches of the New World supermarket chain, but is sold under the name "Our Mate", presumably because Sanitarium own the Marmite trademark in New Zealand. In all other respects the taste and packaging are identical.

Poland

Warsaw: (Warszawa) It is reported that Tesco managers order a crate of it to be sent over from Blighty when the local expats become too vociferous in their condemnation of Tesco's failure to provide British things like real marmalade and cheddar cheese.

USA

West Coast:

  • Safeway
  • New Seasons
  • Natures/Wild Oats
  • Thriftway
  • Major Market

Indiana:

New York/Pennsylvania:

  • Wegmans
  • Tea and Sympathy (NYC) [1] (http://www.teaandsympathynewyork.com/home.php)
  • Amish Market
  • Gourmet Garage (Manhattan)

Virginia:

  • Foods of All Nations (Charlottesville)

Nutritional Information

Per 100 g

  • Energy - 996 kJ/234 kcal
  • Protein - 43.0 g
  • Carbohydrates - 14.8 g
  • of which sugars - 2.7 g
  • Fat - 0.4 g
  • of which saturates - 0.1 g
  • Fibre - 2.6 g
  • Sodium - 4.5 g
  • Thiamin - 5.8 mg - 414 % RDA
  • Riboflavin - 7.0 mg - 438 % RDA
  • Niacin - 160.0 mg - 889 % RDA
  • Folic Acid - 2500 g - 1250 % RDA
  • Vitamin B12 - 15.0 g - 1500 % RDA

Per 4 g serving

  • Energy - 39 kJ/9 kcal
  • Protein - 1.7 g
  • Carbohydrates - 0.6 g
  • of which sugars - 0.1 g
  • Fat - trace
  • of which saturates - trace
  • Fibre - 0.1 g
  • Sodium - 0.2 g
  • Thiamin - 0.23 mg - 16.6 % RDA
  • Riboflavin - 0.28 mg - 17.5 % RDA
  • Niacin - 6.4 mg - 35.6 % RDA
  • Folic Acid - 100 g - 50.0 % RDA
  • Vitamin B12 - 0.6 g - 60 % RDA

RDA = Recommended Daily Allowance

Suggested serving 4 g for adults, 2 g for children.

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