British favourite, Marmite, is a rich, dark-brown, yeasty spread for hot toast, on wafer biscuits, as a hot drink or a sandwich filling. Marmite lovers will tell you it is good on or in almost anything! The spread has a dense, salty flavour so used sparingly. Marmite is made from yeast extract (a by-product of the brewing industry) and is a rich source of vitamin B complex. Statistics say that 25% of Britons take Marmite with them when travelling.
Marmite have also released a new spread, Marmite XO, it is an aged version of the original and said by some to taste more like the Marmite of their childhood.
Vegemite, on the other hand, is from Australia (though also available in the UK) and is also a yeast extract spread.
Given, therefore, that they are both yeast extracts, surely they should taste the same but apparently, there is a distinct difference in the two flavours and as Vegemite has more added flavours, colouring and additives than the original Marmite, does that make one better than the other?
Marmite vs. Vegemite, the Taste Test
A trip to Australia brought my first encounter with Vegemite on its home turf, so I decided it was time to see if I could tell the difference between not only Vegemite and Marmite but threw the new XO into the mix as well.
I am not sure the 'blind' tasting would hold up to scientific scrutiny, just three slices of hot buttered brown toast, each spread with an equal amount.
A bite of each and the differences were (to me) apparent straight away.
XO was easy to spot as it not only had a denser, richer flavour, the colour was darker than usual and the texture, thicker and stickier.
Marmite original was easy as it is a flavour I know. The saltiness balances with a slight sweetness and a smooth, silky texture.
The Vegemite, I am sorry to say I didn't like, despite wanting to. I found something in the smell slightly off-putting, though I couldn't quite put my finger on why, and the flavour was weak and insipid with a tangy aftertaste which I found unappealing.
My (Australian) friend, a Marmite lover, had much the same reaction.
I was genuinely surprised that the two products are so completely different and for me the "Mite that is right is Marmite, and I hardly care if it is XO or the traditional one, I love both.
So, I guess the debate rolls on and an answer to is Marmite better than Vegemite still elusive. It's all just a matter of personal taste.