Known by the slogan ‘You either love it or hate it‘, this controversial spread disgusts almost as many people as it delights.  Apparently, in the late 19th century people realised that brewer’s yeast could be concentrated and eaten, and thus the forefather of Marmite was born.  As a product it is dark brown in colour and has a salty, savoury taste that is very, very strong.

It’s great spread on hot buttered toast and some people love Marmite & cheese sandwiches; even though it’s vegetarian-friendly I use it as a flavour-booster when cooking beef and sometimes add a teaspoon of it to meaty soups to add depth, and I’m sure there are many women out there who can tell some horrifying stories about pregnancy cravings involving Marmite (Marmite & banana anyone?).

Sadly New Zealand have run out of Marmite (being referred to rather cleverly in news articles as Marmite Marmageddon): after last years huge earthquake that hit Christchurch, the Marmite factory was shut down after being judged too dangerous to be kept open, and so Marmite-loving Kiwis have been working their way through stockpiled supplies.  Well, sadly there was no miracle of multiplication and the Marmite has finally run dry.  Some New Zealanders are making the most of the crisis and auctioning their few remaining jars online, the rascals.

The General Manager for Sanitarium (the NZ company that produces Marmite) hopes that by July 2012 the production of Marmite will resume, either when the factory is repaired or production moved elsewhere.  But will it be too late by then?  People have rioted over less.

In a horrible contrast, early last year Denmark (yes, the whole entire country) decided to ban the sale of Marmite as for some mysterious reason it broke food laws dating back to 2004 that governed the sale of products fortified with added vitamins.  Even though the EU has ruled that Marmite is a legal product, oddly enough it has no power over nation states about what can and cannot be sold, effectively rendering its ruling useless.

On a related note, the Danish Black Market has now added a new commodity (joining other oddities like pineapples and 12/13 breeds of dog) to its list of items that now need to be smuggled in from nearby Sweden, where thankfully the dark stuff is still legal.

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