The duel: Vegemite versus Nutella

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    Peter Flynn.
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    Transcript: Vegemite versus Nutella

    There’s a battle going on in Australia. It’s a battle of the breakfast table where the traditional food spreadBrotaufstrichspread Vegemite is under threat from Nutella and similar products. Vegemite is thick and dark brown in colour. It’s made from yeast extractHefeextraktyeast extract and is similar to the British Marmite. Australians often joke about how awful it tastes, but it’s still the country’s most popular spread and a much-loved part of Aussie culture. In Around Oz, Peter Flynn looks at the clash of the condimentWürze, Würzmittelcondiments.

    This morning for breakfast — along with probably half the country — I had toast with a famous Australian spread that many might say looks and smells like axle greaseAchs-,Schmierölaxle grease. It’s called Vegemite.

    This spread, made from the leftovers of used brewer´s yeastBierhefe,Brauhefebrewer’s yeast, is something of a national iconSymbol, Kultobjekticon, even if the idea of making it was borrowed from the English product Marmite back in the 1920s. Both have a salty, bitter taste, and the secret is not to spread them thickly, as you might do with sweet toppingBelagtoppings like jam. The only thing I found in continental Europe that is in any way similar is the Swiss Cenovis paste. There’s a hintAndeutung; hier: Hauchhint of celerySelleriecelery and onion, and a flavour that I could only compare to a crushed beefstock beef stock cubeRinderbouillonwürfelcube.

    The brand Vegemite was briefly part of the US food group Mondelez; but earlier this year, it was bought back into Australian ownership. Curiously, the buyer was Bega Cheese, whose former rival Kraft Cheese had owned Vegemite for almost 90 years. Cheese and Vegemite go well together. “Tiger toast” is what my kids used to call shreddedgeriebenshredded cheese on top of Vegemite.

    Before readers begin to wonder — as most Americans do — why those weird Australians put black gooSchmieregoo on their toast, I have to say that when I was introduced to Nutella, I thought it was sickly sweet and strange. In fact, I still hate the stuff. My kids, who are now grown-up, go on the occasional Nutella binge (ifml.)Gelage, Exzess; hier: Fressanfallbinge, buying the biggest jarGlasjar available and then eating it all in just a few days, before going back to Vegemite.

    Some local market research compared the two: more than a million Aussies eat Nutella at least once a week, especially younger teenage girls. Although that is less than seven per cent of the population, Nutella is really popular with many migrant groups from Asia as well as with Americans. Vegemite, though, is eaten by more than 40 per cent of all Australians.Other research to suggestnahelegensuggests that you will find a jar of Vegemite in nine out of ten Australian homes.

    When, as a guest, I occasionally find a kitchen pantrySpeisekammerpantry without a jar, I don’t hesitate to to offendbeleidigen, verletzenoffend my hosts by telling them how un-Australian they are. Maybe that’s why a single factory in Melbourne makes 22 million jars of Vegemite a year, basically from the waste products of brewing beer, and in this case, some of it from another iconic brand: Foster’s Lager.

    Vegemite will celebrate its centenaryhundertster Jahrestagcentenary in just over five years, but I’m forecasting that this little eccentricity of Australian eating — which actor Hugh Jackman apparently had to show US talk-show host Fallon how to spread properly — will survive for another 100 years.

     

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