Marmite and Vegemite Go Spread to Spread

It’s a battle of the yeasts!  Yeast vs yeast, which will reign supreme?

There’s really no cool way to jazz up a comparison between two iconic yeast spreads, is there? Regardless, I found myself with a jar of each in the cupboard, and knew that a challenge was in order.

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My introduction to Marmite came while making breakfast for Ozzy, the little Westie we took care of in Wales a couple of years back. That’s right, Ozzy likes a little Marmite on his morning toast.

Awful stuff!  Horrible & salty!  How could anyone eat it? Ozzy’s supply was safe with me.

Fast forward to our time in Australia.  How could I NOT try Vegemite?  Growing up, there wasn’t much I knew about the land down under, but of course, I knew about Vegemite.  I was a child of the 80’s, after all.

Soundtrack: there can only be one song for this.

The family we were house sitting for set out breakfast, and Vegemite with cheese seemed to be the order of the day. Properly schooled in the use of the dark, earthy stuff, I came around.  I even became a fan.

When we first stocked up with groceries on Vancouver Island, we found no Vegemite, so Marmite it was.  Hmmm… slightly different?  Not bad, now that I know how to eat the stuff: my friend, Sue’s words in my head, “It’s not peanut butter.  Just a light scraping.”

Then, Santa delivered Vegemite to my Christmas stocking.  The duel was on!

Karen gamely set up three samples of each spread.

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Right off the bat, I can say that I should have been blind-folded; I was pretty sure I knew which was which, just by sight. I was right; the darker, thicker spread on the left is the Vegemite.

First came a taste of each, straight up. Then, my two favourite variations: with avocado, and with a sharp, aged cheddar. Strangely, with the avocado, I noticed very little difference. The other two tastes, however, had Vegemite firmly in the lead.  I found the Australian spread to have a fuller, rounder, more mellow flavour.  The Marmite  had more of a bitter flavour that I didn’t love.  Not overwhelming, but it was there.  Perhaps that’s down to the malt in the Vegemite.

Very much a texture person, I don’t love the sticky, drippy texture of the Marmite (no matter what I do, the jar, the knife, and my fingers somehow end up sticky).

Final verdict: they’re certainly each an acquired taste, and they’re similar enough that either will work, if you’re looking for a salty, tangy flavour burst to wake up your taste buds. For my money, though, I’ll be sticking with the Aussie version.

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The last “scrape” from the Marmite jar joined some cheese in a bun, for my picnic lunch on our recent hike up Jocelyn Hill. Oh, the glamour of travel!


Does the sight of either of the bright red and yellow label fill your head with childhood memories?  If you came late to the yeast extract experience, what was your first impression? Does one reign supreme in your kitchen? Feel free to weigh in!

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13 thoughts on “Marmite and Vegemite Go Spread to Spread

  1. We always had Vegemite in our home when I grew up although only my Aussie father ever wanted it eat it! I remember it always arriving in mail in the middle of a tube of rolled up newspapers or magazines sent by Dad’s brother to help him survive in Canada. When Dad died my son went out and bought himself a jar of Vegemite ( it was available here by then). Bjorn did not like the stuff but wanted to eat it to think of his Grandpa.
    You and Karen must be off soon to warmer climates. Have fun! Linda

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  2. Thanks for sharing that memory, Linda. I’m trying to imagine the cost of shipping the jar and the reading material. Important life-saving stuff!

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  3. I understood that they have made different versions of Marmite for different countries, and that there was some scarcity or something a few years back…do you know if these are true and if there might indeed be a few variants available in different places, the way they alter the heck out of Coke for different countries’ tastes…?

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  4. Well I suppose a lot is about where you were raised. From UK.. of course we know the only right choice is Marmite and if I were to agree with you, then two of us would be wrong.
    Cass lived in Aus for 6 months when she was little enough to be influenced by the more chemical inferior taste of Vegemite..so she still likes it.
    Never have I tried either with avocado and the thought fills me with dismay. Toasted cheese and marmite (vegamite if you must) sandwich is the way to go…either made in the pan or broiled/ panini oven…..to melt it all the way through.
    Ideal cheese being Wenslydale/ Lancashire and strong cheddar mix.
    Also please try tossing chopped potato in an olive oil and ****mite mix….then roasting….the golden deliciousness of this will raise your senses to a new height of awe and thankfulness.

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  5. “if I were to agree with you, then two of us would be wrong.” Love that one!!

    I’ll have to try the potato idea. Sounds fab.
    I can also say that I’ve never met a grilled/broiled cheese sandwich I didn’t like, so I’ll give that a go, as well.

    As usual, you are a font of wisdom, Sue.

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  6. I’ve seen the same stories online, Donnalee, but I really don’t know. I can’t say that I tried Marmite in Aus and NZ. Darn. Now I’ll have to go back to do that taste test!

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  7. They may have them for sale online these days. There might even be a black market for it and fake ones for sale. Hmm. When I lived in the UK, it was either something you liked and had or not, and it seems to have become very culty the last decade or so. Probably clever marketing!

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  8. I have never had either one and I have no clue as to what they taste like… or how they are used (except now that you have shown several ways to consume… um… yeast spread). Perhaps I need to go to Australia one of these days.

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  9. We always had a jar of Vegemite and Marmite in the cupboard growing up in New Zealand. I have firmly been a Vegemite girl for as long as I can remember and everyone else in the family loved Marmite.

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