The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Vegemite – As Australian as Apple Pie is American

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on March 22, 2010

Most Americans have learned everything they know about Vegemite from the band “Men at Work.”

IMG_3467

What IS this Vegemite stuff? My brother used to talk about it whenever he came home from Australia, but still, it’s hard to describe. Even after hearing about it, I still didn’t have a clue, until I tried it. It’s basically a very salty, subtly bitter spread, that’s high in B vitamins and niacin. It kinda looks like chocolate peanut butter, but if you were to assume some kind of flavor similarity, you would be sadly mistaken, and probably disgusted.

IMG_2178Despite its name, it doesn’t contain any vegetables. It’s a yeast extract product, and it’s about as Australian as kangaroos, Uluru, and black opals. It’s made by Kraft, though, which perhaps diminishes its Australian Bona Fides. Basically, expended brewing yeast is used by Kraft to produce Vegemite in copious quantities for consumption by Australians. While we were at the XXXX brewery, the tour guide told us that they sell their tremendous amounts of spent yeast to Kraft for the production of Vegemite.

We’ve seen several people reminisce romantically about growing up on Vegemite sandwiches. It’s available at essentially every breakfast (brekky).

While sitting in a gas station restaurant, in the bustling metropolis of Marlborough (it has 2 gas stations), as I spread Vegemite on my toast, talking to the Wife, a truckie (big rig driver) at the adjacent table turned around, and asked, “Did I hear an accent?”

I said, “Yes, we’re American.”

“It’s not very often you see someone with an accent put Vegemite on ANYTHING,” the truckie observed.

“Well, I’VE fallen in Love with this stuff.” I admitted, proudly.

“It’s sad that the States won’t allow you to import it because it contains some trace amount of some chemical.” He further informed us.

“Bummer, because we were hoping to take a little home with us.” I lamented.

But alas, snopes.com has busted the urban legend, and it appears we CAN take some home with us. The chemical is folate, which the FDA only allows in bread. As Vegemite contains yeast, barley, salt, and water, it’s ALMOST bread, but evidently not enough to satisfy the FDA, so no deal on Kraft importing it. But we can bring in some small amounts for personal consumption, and personally consume we will. Oh, happy day! We’re also planning on bringing a couple of the above individualized packets to give to some friends, to see what they think of it.

It’s not for everyone, though. Its flavor is definitely unique, and I can certainly imagine why/that lots of people do not find Vegemite tasty or even palatable. Great, more for us!

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5 Responses to “Vegemite – As Australian as Apple Pie is American”

  1. Marcus said

    Would you believe I;m an Aussie that does not actually like Vegemite!! I much prefer Promite: http://www.masterfoods.com.au/Products/ProductDetail/tabid/83/ProductId/1675/PROMITE.aspx

    • We actually heard about Promite today. It sounds pretty interesting, so I think we’ll need to try it. Ironically, it includes far more vegetables than Vegemite, and evidently it sounds less salty? We’ll definitely put it on the list!

  2. Laura said

    I have brought back the small little containers both times and never had a problem getting them through customs.

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