Wacky Snacks: Vegemite

Name: Vegemite

Origin: Australia

Found at: Cost Plus, Santa Ana

Cost: $6.99


Yeast Extract (From Yeast Grown on Barley), Salt, Mineral Salt (508), Malt Exact (Frm Barley), Colour (150c), Flavors, Niacin, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Folate.


Why I Bought It:

Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscles
I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich
And he said,

“I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.”

With the Men at Work song lyrics ringing in my head, I bought a jar of Vegemite, possibly the first food I associate with Australia, again thanks to that catchy 80's tune.

If there was a more quintessentially Australian product, I don't know what it is. Even the jar said that this “concentrated yeast extract” was “proudly made in Australia since 1923”, which it has, as a competitor to Marmite, another yeasty by-product product.

Perhaps immortalized by that song, a Vegemite sandwich, I heard once, is to Australians what peanut butter and jelly is to Americans.

Tasting Notes:
Since I had just run out of bread, a saltine cracker would have to do.  I spread the black-as-tar sticky paste on it like processed cheese. The consistency is not unlike smooth peanut butter, thick and with a high viscosity. And the flavor is piercing–a salty, cheesy tartness that leads to a beer bitterness. A umami savoriness lingers soon thereafter. It's actually really delicious…in small amounts.

I now look forward to buying some bread, toasting it, putting on a layer of butter, then a thin layer of Vegemite to make a proper Vegemite sandwich. No need to run or take cover.

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