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3.3 out of 5 stars27
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This tiny jar of concentrated yeast extract is quite the breakfast food. To use Marmite, spread it thinly on toast or sandwich bread. Wait! What do you mean by "thinly?" I mean, practically thin enough to be a monolayer of molecules, because if you spread it any thicker, it will taste pretty strong. Well, actually, I use a quarter of a teaspoon on each piece of toast, which is buttered first to lubricate the process. And wait, how would one spread it thinly on fresh, untoasted AMERICAN bread without it tearing the fluffy crumb into tiny balls only suitable for feeding the koi? Again, a bit of softened butter, then a schmear of Marmite, a slice of tomato and you have a super tea sandwich. This is often my dinner, when I want something light.

How and why was Marmite invented, and how did it become a beloved British traditional food, right up there with hedgehog-flavoured potato crisps? Back in 1902, some genius took the lees of good old British Ale, that is to say, Brewer's Yeast, and boiled it down to a tarry, black substance that no one in their right mind would eat unless their Mum forced them to. Because of the B-complex, Marmite became popular as a supplement for prisoners-of-war, served in hospitals, schools, to troops in WWI and WWII. It almost was rationed in WWII, with mothers told to spread it "very thinly, for now."

Traditionally, Marmite is served on sandwiches and especially on toast at breakfast on toast "soldiers" or triangles of toast that kids can dip into their boiled eggs. The flavor is meaty, salty, though it has less salt than the butter you might use with it, and it has no meat or animal product--it's made of yeast so is vegetarian-vegan.

The flavor, frankly, takes some getting used to if you don't like strong, savory things. However, if you like savory, meaty flavors and want something non-sugary sweet on your breakfast toast, Marmite is fantastic. The closest I can describe the flavor is on the order of soy sauce, beef bouillion or mushroom pate. Other uses for Marmite are to flavor soups, meat or vegetable loaves, and stews, as a mix in dips or on bread for sandwiches and canapes.

4 grams or about 1/8 ounce of Marmite has the following B vitamins:

Riboflavin 0.28mg (17.5% RDA)
Niacin 5.4mg (35.6% RDA)
Folic Acid 100ug (50.0% RDA)
Vitamin B12 0.5ug (60.0% RDA)
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on August 17, 2005
My first culinary memory involves a surreptitious finger dip into the Marmite jar at the age of three; it is the first food I remember really loving. And ever since then I have had difficulty getting enough of it. Not everyone reacts to it the same way. Some imagine it looks too much like axle grease. Others complain that it smells too much like beer left overnight to go bad. These facts suggest that one might only serve it to close friends and only when there are some alternatives. In any case, the Marmite claim "Love it or Hate it" is quite apropos. It rarely evokes a neutral reaction.

The best preparation I can think of is to mix it thoroughly with butter. One part Marmite to two or three parts butter. Then spread thinly on toast. Served this way, the primary flavor of Marmite is salt. Then there is a subtle meaty flavor sometimes called umami - it's a flavor that is present in well browned mushrooms or red meat. The label suggests that it might be put to excellent use in soup stocks as a substitute or supplement to caramelized roasted vegetables - onions and carrots.

As for nutritional value, even spread thinly it is dynamite. Those who fall hopelessly for its charms may find themselves consuming mega-doses of a few crucial B vitamins. It is an exceptionally rich source of B12, folicin, and B6. And since it is free of animal products it is an ideal food to include in a Vegan diet which normally falls short in delivering B12.
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on October 10, 2005
Marmite is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It is the thing that most ex-pats miss. But it is most definitely NOT Vegemite. That is an entirely different thing. Well - not that entirely different maybe. But, to my mind, Marmite is far superior. It tastes 'meatier', is a glorious glossy brown/black colour, comes in a much nicer jar and makes a lovely drink. 1 teaspoon in a mug of hot water in which you dunk thick slices of buttered bread. Lived on this when a poor student.
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on December 4, 2009
Someone recommended me Marmite as a healthy addition to morning meals. I read the reviews here at Amazon and I was very hesitant to order because there was a general consensus that it requires an 'adquired taste'. After months of debating I went ahead this week and ordered it.

I did what many reviewers recommended and spread butter on a slice of bread first and then spread a micro thin layer of Marmite (the butter was supposed to mellow the strong flavor and help spread the thick marmite). I spread about a pea sized amount of marmite in one slice of bread and 3 peas sized amount in another slice.

The first thing I noticed was the smell, it smelled like beef buillon. Like very strong beef stock. The first thing I could taste when I put it in my mouth was SOY SAUCE and SALT. The taste was a combination of beef stock with vinegar and soy sauce. Not very plesant. The vinegar part was very potent and I could feel the roof of my mouth feeling a bit raw (sort of like when you eat a lot fo sauerkraut or pickles and the roof of your motuh feels 'scraped'). I think the micro amount I had spread on the first slice was not enough for me to taste the secondary flavors and so I only got the kick of the strongest flavor, which was not very plesant and sort of bitter.

The second slice was just as potent as the first one but I could appreciate underlying flavors. Did I mentioned this thing is salty? Oh, it is salty. At the very end of each bite there was a really good nutty aftertaste. Its very difficult to explain the combination of flavors, but it is definetly a strong meaty essence with equally strong seasonings.

The 'adquired taste' I guess comes from that bitter soy sauce/vinegar salty kick that is hard to ignore if you are new to the spread. Even a tiny drop of marmite will fill your mouth with taste. But overall, I consider it to be an interesting (good) flavor. Great for a quick snack. The fact that is jam-packed with healthy stuff (Folic acid, B12 vitamin, Niacin...ect) makes it a keeper in my pantry. I think I will experiment eating it wih cheese or a slice of tomato like another reviewer adviced.
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VINE VOICEon October 1, 2007
I was first given this treat on a trip through England when the B&B owner offered me some for my breakfast. She had a sly grin on her face, and now I know she was expecting me to react like most Yanks do, but she and I were both surprised. A tiny dab of this stuff on the corner of a piece of toast was sheer heaven to me. I felt a sense of wellbeing spreading from my mouth throughout my body. I know that sounds a bit extreme, but that's really how it felt!

All my life I've craved savory flavors and have been drawn to foods such as red meat (preferably scorched on the outside), tomatoes, mushrooms, and dark green vegetables - I'll take one saltine cracker over a handful of cookies any day of the week. Well, come to find out, Marmite is high in the "fifth flavor" umami, and that's what I'm always trying to find in my food. It's "that flavor I'm looking for" distilled down into a little brown jar. Mind you, it's strong stuff; a little dab will satisfy all your red meat cravings (though it contains not one spec of any animal product) but more than a dab is really just 'way too strong, even for a savory-food-lover like me. Spread it THIN! It's great spread nearly transparently over toast or crackers, and a couple of drops will make any insipid canned broth lot more hearty.

Caution: if you own a cat, make sure to wash your hands after eating Marmite. Apparently they go for it, too, and will try very enthusiastically to remove your fingers and run away with them if any trace is remaining on your hands!
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on December 23, 2007
I just wanted to start by responding to some of the claims made here. Firstly, you do not need to be a particular nationality or type of person to like Marmite. That's just ridiculous. Secondly, it is not a "cultural thing" to enjoy savory or "umami" foods, any more than it is cultural to like sweet, sour, bitter, or salty flavors. You either like it or you don't. Does everyone like double fudge ice cream? Incredibly, no. I find Marmite delicious, but potent. I think many times people don't enjoy it because they've eaten a gob straight from the jar or they spread it like jam. That's too much! Try it spread very thinly or add a SMALL dollop to your savory sauces and stocks. I highly recommend trying it. You may love it. If not, at least admit it's a matter of preference rather than rant like a xenophobic donkey's rump.
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on November 15, 2006
I went to UK for the first time a couple of years back. My friends introduced me to Marmite as something some people enjoyed when they couldn't afford eggs and bacon. The Mr said it was made from a by-product of beer, I thought he was joking at first. Spread it thinly on a piece of dry toast, served properly, he demonstrated then handed to me. It was surprisingly strong but I liked it. Savory [or savoury as they would spell it] like bacon or other cooked meats but none of the awful fat or grease. It's not terribly hard to find here since the advent of shopping with the wonderful world wide web, so I have been able to enjoy this in the US as a snack between meals on one slice of whole wheat bread, often a late night sandwich with room temperature cheese and tomato.
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on January 12, 2007
It's too bad Mr Somma has little appreciation for Marmite and a naive, propaganda-inspired understanding of history. Marmite is an acquired taste and has to be used properly (sparingly). Used with a light hand, it is a savory delight, working equally well in soups or on bread and toast. It will be an absolute disaster if one tries to use it like peanut butter or jam. One only needs a little of the best things in life!
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on December 11, 2006
For those of us brought up on Vegemite, Marmite doesn't make the grade. For those brought up on Marmite, Vegemite seems a poor substitute. For Americans who only seem to put sweet stuff on their cake (oops, I mean "bread") both are revolting.

I think that a major reason why Americans abhor these savoury spreads is that being used to spreading honey and jam on their breakfast toast, they tend to use like quantities of Vegemite or Marmite. To uninitiated the taste of either spread applied so lavishly is going to be overwhelming. Before passing judgment on these spreads, you would do well to heed the advice of "Joanna" or "mtspace" and apply thinly. It also works best with very fresh bread or hot toast.

Incidentally, I believe that Marmite was first. Vegemite was an Australian imitation created several years later. It was originally called Parwill - a pun which will be appreciated by Aussies and Brits but which may not be understood by Americans because of the way the words are pronounced.

I only give Marmite four stars. That probably tells you my upbringing.
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on September 25, 2009
I have never been outside the U.S. and I don't think I have a drop of British or Australian blood in me, but I love both Marmite and Vegemite, and get both of them at World Market (formerly known as Cost Plus World Market) for about $5 a jar. Marmite is more syrupy and salty than Vegemite / Vegemite is more solid and less salty (but still quite salty) than Marmite. VEGANS TAKE NOTE : both are good sources of vegan B vitamins, but Vegemite lacks the crucial B12 and Marmite HAS B12.
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