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Is this an icon?



The spread that everybody famously either loves or loathes, Marmite was launched on an unsuspecting world in 1902. A by-product of the brewing industry, it owes its existence to the discovery by a German scientist Justus Liebig that yeast cells left over from beer-making could be concentrated and eaten. The first factory was set up in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Marmite soon acquired the status of an indispensable dietary staple, being issued in soldiers’ mess tins, as well as finding its nutritious way on to the menus of schools and hospitals. So much is it the taste of home that British peacekeeping forces serving in Kosovo in 1999 sent back an urgent request for supplies to shore up the morale of troops on the ground.

After being biochemically broken down, the yeast is flavoured with a blend of spice and vegetable extracts, creating a uniquely savoury dark brown paste that lends itself to a whole range of culinary applications. If you haven’t yet looked further than the cheese and Marmite sandwich, prepare yourself for Marmite corn fritters, panini with Marmite tapénade, or – perhaps most ambrosial of all – cheese and onion crisps with a Marmite dip.


Your comments

Love it or hate it, visitors from overseas are baffled by it, and if you want it when you go abroad you'd best take it with you. The taste of Marmite can best be described as salty condensed bitter beer - thus encompassing two more English icons -a pint of bitter and the English Channel (waves over which we rule). Even the jar is typically English, having dark corners that you can never ever reach - just to baffle any Johnny foreigner foolish enough to try!

George Dillon

Marmite, especially to an ex-patriot, is a comforting shaped jar with a comforting smell and taste - a reminder of childhood. It has been unchanged for years.
Claire Tindall

First of all: I hate Marmite. I came across it as a language student (I am German) and everybody in England seemed to like it. The English seem to love it passionately - and every attempt I have witnessed to lure the average European palate to a good helping of Marmite has failed. Therefore I came to this conclusion: the liking of marmite is in your very genes. And those genes must be british.
Stefanie Neumann

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