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I am embarrassed to admit that, for the longest time, I didn’t recognize the difference between Marmite and Nutella. I filed them both away in the seldom-referenced category of mysterious European goop in small jars that people make jokes about.

But Marmite and Nutella are very different. Nutella, made in Italy, is a sweet concoction made of hazel nuts and chocolate. Marmite, though it originated in Germany and is now made in Britain, is a salty, savory brown goop made from yeast salvaged from brewing. I recently came across an article in British newspapers about the health benefits of the high concentrations of B vitamins in Marmite. But watch out for the salt!

Marmite, which is very rich in the umami flavor, is no doubt a less refined relative of monosodium glutamate, which also is extracted from yeast, though the MSG is of course refined into a white salt. I am not among those who disparage MSG. Back in the 1970s, MSG got a bad reputation based on falsehoods. Again and again studies have shown that MSG does not cause headaches and that it’s not bad for you. The truth is that yeast extracts are used in many foods to enhance flavor. I’m guessing, though, that there is no yeast extract more flagrant than Marmite. There is a slight bitterness — hops from the brewing? — but the umami flavor goes on and on. There’s a boozy, old-world flavor about it that I like. Marmite has been made for 120 years. It reminds me of a pub, and I like anything that reminds me of pubs.

No doubt Marmite is an excellent seasoning for dark soups and stews. I’ve seen recipes for Marmite pasta sauces. All that is something that I will definitely experiment with this winter. It’s too hot right now for that sort of thing.


  1. Chenda wrote:

    The television adverts for Marmite were quite unique and clever:

    Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Hi Chenda: Very funny! Do you hate it or like it? 🙂

    Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at 5:13 pm | Permalink
  3. Chenda wrote:

    Sadly I hate it, although I’ve not tried it in over 20 years so maybe it’s time to give it another go 🙂

    Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

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