Weird food: Marmite chocolate
What food has a statue dedicated to it, is smeared on bald men’s heads to promote hair growth and has been banned in Denmark? The answer of course is Marmite.
Created from the by-product of beer-brewing – containing yeast, flavourings and rich in vitamin – the viscous, black stuff recently hit the headlines after a Queen’s Jubilee edition of the cleverly named Maa’mite was launched.
Dividing the nation since its creation in 1902, while some balk at the umami flavour, an elite group of Marmite fans, the Marmarati, hold it in such high esteem they’re charged with creating new Marmite-related products including Marmite flavoured crisps, breadsticks, cheese, cashew nuts and cereal bars. Their latest offering is Marmite chocolate.
It’s not unheard of to mix Marmite with sweet foods. In August 2006 celebrity chef Gary Rhodes created a dessert consisting of coffee ice cream topped with chocolate sauce with a dash of Marmite.
But how would the gooey spread that looks like crude oil, fare encased in milk chocolate?
We all know the moniker: Marmite – you either love it or hate it. I’m firmly in the ‘love it’ camp but prefer mine on hot buttered toast. Still, with just two per cent of Marmite flavouring, the chocolate can’t taste that strong…
How wrong can one woman be? The packet’s warning ‘Very peculiar’ and the promise to ‘bewilder the tastebuds,’ should’ve been a clue. Clearly, I’m more the Hastings than the Poirot of the food world.
Despite being vegetarian, the first sniff smacks of caramelised beef and the taste is even worse. It’s so salty, like consuming an ocean, and as I swallow an unpleasant aftertaste sneaks in. It’s that cloying taste, the dehydrated feeling when you’ve woken up after one too many and it feels like something’s died in your mouth.
So what are the saving graces? Well, here comes the science bit. Jampacked with nutritional benefits, marmite’s good for liver and kidney function and protects the nervous system. One serving provides 36 per cent of your RDA of Vitamin B3, 50 per cent of folic acid.
Coupled with chocolate that is proven to lower blood pressure, it’s practically a superfood. Wheatgrass and blueberries, you’re out on your ear.
Not sure those health benefits are enough to entice me to have another square though. I’ll leave it to the true fans!
Nine things you never knew about Marmite:
- It was used in WW1 ration packs and sent to British peacekeeping forces in Kosovo to boost morale in 1999.
- It’s named after petite marmite, a French stew, hence the cooking pot shape of the jar and the picture on the front.
- Marmite held traffic at a standstill when a tanker carrying more than 20 tonnes of the yeast extract overturned on the M1 in November last year.
- Sculptor Jeremy Fattorini has created Rodin’s The Kiss sculpture using Marmite in February 2008 in London’s Greenwich Park. The 7ft statue took nearly two and a half weeks to create and was coated in 420 jars of limited edition I Love You Champagne Marmite.
5.Missouri is the proud home of the Marmite museum
6. 50 million jars of marmite are produced each year.
7. The biggest export market for Marmite is Sri Lank
8. George Lambert from Hackney was the first marmite sarniologist. He made a 12 ft tall stack containing 500 slices of bread, 20 lettuces, 65 tomatoes, 30 bananas, 25 carrots,1500g of cheese and, of an unstated quantity of Squeezy Marmite in 2008.
9. Marmite repels mosquitos. Maybe that’s why 14 per cent of Brits take it on holiday with them.
Watch out for another chocolate with a twist in my next post on Wasabi chocolate