Marmite is made from yeast extract – a by-product of beer brewing. It is savoury spread with a truly distinctive, rather salty, taste and is a British culinary icon.
Best, in my opinion on hot buttered toast, I am led to believe that not everyone loves Marmite.
The forerunner of Marmite as we know it today, a bottled concentrate of brewers yeast, was invented by a German scientist Justus von Liebig in the late 19th century.
In 1902, The Marmite Food Extract Company was formed in in Burton upon Trent (Staffordshire) with the yeast paste being supplied by the local Bass Brewers. By 1907, the success of Marmite prompted the construction of a second factory in South London’s Camberwell Green area.
Its name derives from the French word “Marmite”, meaning a large covered cooking pot, and since the 1920s Marmite has been sold in iconic glass jars – depicted above – that take their shape from the French pots.
So loved on the British breakfast tables, jeweler, Theo Fennell, created a sliver replacement lid for the famous yellow lid of the classic jar.
Although the precise composition is a closely guarded trade secret, Marmite has long been known for it healthy properties. Rich in Vitamin B and was used by the troops in the First World War as a supplement to combat beri-beri. It richness Folic Acid has been used since the 1930’s for the treatment of anaemia and to this day Marmite is often taken by expectant mothers for the same reason.
In 2000, after a number of corporate incarnations and mergers, Marmite became a Unilever brand.
Photos from Unilever and Theo Fennell