Sunday, 27 March 2011

The iconic taste of Marmite

What to put on my toast and matzos when it's Lent and I'm off meat and dairy products? The answer is of course Marmite, something that's so quintessentially English. Unfortunately, it doesn't travel (culturally) and has failed to find mass-market demand for it here.

No longer can you find Marmite on the World Foods section in Tesco. I bought this 125g jar at Kuchnie Świata last week for a whopping 16 zlotys (£3.50); in the UK it retails for around £1.25. Kuchnie Świata is not cheap, but a mark-up of this size on this product suggests ultra-low sales in Poland. As the advert for Marmite used to go, "you either love it or you hate it". I've yet to meet a Pole who likes Marmite. And yet, as a (biological) Pole, I love Marmite. Maybe because I grew up with it, enjoying it as a child, spread on toast. Or drinking it as a hot beverage, a spoonful dissolved in boiling water. That childhood pleasure of the salty, tangy taste remains.

Interesting to read the Polish labelling for the product. Apparently, it's good with porridge!

Marmite is made from the sludge left over from brewing beer, I remember from a brewery visit to Burton-on-Trent. If you've never tried Marmite - give it a go. You'll not be indifferent to it!

This time last year:

This time two years ago:


Chris said...

Is this something similar to Vegemite from the land down under?

Michael Dembinski said...

It is indeed - follow the Marmite link on Wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

Michael, I have been living in Krakow for a long time but currently working in Bangkok. Marmite has both sets of students - Poles and Thais - pulling grotesque faces when given a whiff of the brown stuff. You are right - I don't know of any Poles who like the stuff but they must be out there. When I was a kid, it was always advertised as "the growing up spread". The love it/hate it thing came later. But a very canny move by their marketing dept. Anyway, they certainly made some good TV ads - here is one of my faves,very dark and quite scary really:

Going back to the UK next week so will be stocking up!

Darren Clarke

grankspoine said...

Have you tried the Marmite XO variant, Mike? Makes Marmite ordinaire seem rather tame!


Chris said...

Tried it today. Yuck! I'm in the haters. :)

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Grankspoine:

I've not tried Marmite XO, but am aware of it thanks to Tesco's website. Will certainly buy some next time I'm Kingdomside. Who knows - maybe Kuchnie Świata will stock up with it too.

adthelad said...

Trouble with most new users, they haven't the foggiest how to use it. Oleś loves Marmite.
Take some hot toast, spread on butter, and then a thin (and for new users Chris I mean a very very thin) touch of Marmite. Delicious.

adthelad said...

Oh and Granny tried it, and Aunty tried it today and they both like it too. Though if I hadn't made the Marmite toast for them they might also have entered the 'no like' camp.