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.
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.
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.
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!