Ah, Vegemite. Without doubt it is Australia’s favorite sandwich spread. But while it is loved by the locals, it is generally repulsed by our visitors.Visually, I will concede, it is a little unappetizing (hmm…black sticky tar?). And chances are, unless you grew up on it or follow the guidelines below (without digressing I should add) you will probably never acquire the taste for it. For first timers the taste of Vegemite is very unexpected, surprisingly sharp and in order to avoid gagging which so many of the uninitiated do on their first bite, you need to apply the Vegemite sparingly with liberal amounts of butter. But, rich in Vitamin B Aussie kids are brought up on the salty-tasting spread from babyhood (hooray for toasty Vegemite soldiers dipped into soft-boiled eggs!) and it is a school lunch box staple. I personally know many Aussies who won’t travel without a small jar or easy-squeeze tube of Vegemite for fear that they will not find it and then shock horror, what on earth would they have on their toast in the morning?
Interestingly, Vegemite came about as a substitute for Marmite when supplies ran out in Australia during the war. It’s made from yeast leftover from the beer brewing process… but don’t get excited, it isn’t alcoholic! Also, it tastes quite different to Marmite, at least according to its most ardent fans.
My personal favorite is eating Vegemite on toast with lashings of avocado — really so good! And I have friends who swear by adding it to gravy and soups. It also goes really well with rosemary, honey and wholegrain mustard to make a tasty barbeque marinade for meat, fish or veggies. And Cheesymite scrolls from bakery chain ‘Bakers-Delight’ are just beyond scrumptious, especially if you are lucky enough to score one just as they are leaving the oven.
Now if all this salty Vegemite talk is making you either peckish (like it is me) or just plain curious, you can always order a jar of your very own here.
ps. One more thing — on crackers, Vegemite is a great remedy for morning sickness!