Sunday, December 31, 2006

Marmite, Vegemite and Natex

Way back in June, Lee posted this picture of the Australian spread Vegemite on his blog A Curate's Egg,
in the section called The Chemist's Cookbook. He also wrote about its history. So I left a comment telling him about Natex, what I believe to be the UK equivalent of Vegemite (which I first heard of many years ago when I first began watching the Australian soap "Neighbours").

If you don't know about Natex, it is a vegetarian yeast extract which is low in salt, contains no saturated fat, and has no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. It is also somewhat less sharp than Marmite, the spread which is best known in the UK, and that suits me. I buy it at my local health foods shop for £3.35 a 250g jar.

I was interested to see that the UK product Natex, which I suspect postdates the Australian one in it's origin, has produced a label with the same colour scheme, which is also similar to the Marmite label. I wouldn't be surprised if they were all made by the same firm these days. As for Marmite, to quote an Australian commentator I found on a website for Vegemite: "...only 'pommies and wankers' ate marmite". Love you too, mate! ;) xxx


Hannelie said...

Hello Judith, I am visiting via Lee's blog today. I grew up with Marmite in South Africa too and now eat Vegimite :)
I am very impressed with your blog, photos and stories. My mother-in-law turned 80 in 2006 and looking back a your photos makes me know her more.
She was born in England but lives in Aust for the last 45 years now.
She was a nurse in WW II and married a Australian pilot, she is also currently writting her life story.
I tell her it sounds just so romantic, the whole nurse and pilot thing.
May 2007 bring you many more love and happiness, not that it looks as if you need any more :)
Australian greetings.

KAZ said...

Thanks for this Judith. I'm a vegetarian, but didn't know about Natex. Should be a good source of B vits and tasty in soups etc.
I'll get some in 2007.
Very Happy new year to you.

+*-s-t-e-f-f-*+ said...

Hi!! Steffi here, want to wish you a Happy new year!! I have growing up with Marmite, due to its flavour, I practically ate whatever my mother cooked with it, until now.

herhimnbryn said...

From a 'pom' transplanted in Australia, I can tell you that Marmite is the ONLY item from the UK that I MUST have! I have tried vegimite, honest gov. but I find it slightly sweet!

I suppose when you have been weaned with Marmite soldiers, it's in your genetic make-up....she said while typing with one hand and holding toast and Marmite in the other.

Happy New Year J.

m said...

What does Marmite taste like?! I don't think we have anything similar here in the United States.

Your earlier post about vol-au-vents has me intrigued. My new years resolution is to cook more and I think I may try some version of a vol-au-vent.

Lee said...

I had never heard of Natex. We get Marmite out here but it is mostly eaten by ex-pats. On the same token i remember travel agents in the UK selling Vegemite to homesick Australians. I had some customs problems going into Libya once : "What's this?", "Vegemite", "What is it?", "Food", "Eat it". Not good by the spoon full. Also not low salt.

Best wishes for 2007.

Avus said...

I am glad HHnB stopped by and saw your posting. When we visit Oz we have to take out catering size Marmite jars for her. Get some very resigned looks from the customs officers there!

Judith said...

M, I don't know how to describe the taste of Marmite, since I rarely eat it. My best guess would be that it is something like a thick paste made from gravy granules, but a lot more piquante -possibly a bit like Bovril which is a meat extract for flavouring and hot drinks. I don't think it is at all sweet though, like Vegemite. Perhaps someone who does like Marmite can explain the taste.

herhimnbryn said...

Oh, Marmite to me is intensely 'savoury' and salty ( it's also packed full of b vitamins). I think the Japanese word 'umami', would describe it as the 5th taste sense...

Thanks for an interesting post J.

Knowleypowley said...

I absolutley adore marmite, but hopefully will be travelling to Australia later in the year, so will try vegimite with an open mind.

Sheila Joynes' Musical Diary said...

My brother-in-law swears by Vegemite so I have known about it since 1974 when he married my sister. He is an Australian.

I have to be in the mood for Marmite and then only very thinly spread.

Sheila Joynes' Musical Diary said...

You don't need to go to Australia to find Vegemite. Ithink they have it in Tesco!