HAVE YOU TRIED IT? WHAT DO YOU THINK? COMMENT BELOW👇🏼
… MEANWHILE READ MY REVIEW
“Vegemite is a thick, black Australian food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. It was developed by Cyril Percy Callister in Melbourne, Victoria in 1922.” – Wikipedia
“Vegemite was invented in Melbourne in 1922 when Australian food manufacturer Fred Walker asked chemist CP Callister to create a product similar to British Marmite. … As overseas travel increased, Vegemite was carried around the world by Australians as a way to reaffirm their connection to home.” – Vegemite | National Museum of Australia
It is a vegetarian yeast extract breakfast spread made from barley and wheat and salt, packed with the goodness of folate, niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. It doesn’t sound too appealing. It’s a black sticky paste so it doesn’t look too appealing either. Infact the taste can be so polarising that people either love it or are disgusted by it’s unique salty flavour. Most Australians would be familiar with the popular TV jingle: “We’re happy little Vegemites as bright as bright can be. We all enjoy our Vegemite for breakfast lunch and tea” … and so it goes.
Many of us ‘true-blue, fair-dinkum, ridgy-didge, dinky-die Aussie‘ kids would have grown up with Vegemite as a staple on the breakfast table. Some may even joke that they were weened on the black, sticky tar-like substance.
Primarily it is used as a breakfast spread, usually on top of buttered toast or on bread in a sandwich or on crackers such as Arnott’s SAO biscuits. It has also been entrenched into Australian kitchens as a dependable cooking ingredient in a variety of applications. It is often used to enrich casseroles, soups and gravies. It is a regular favourite as a quick midnight snack or cure for a hangover in the form of grilled cheese and Vegemite on toast. More recently people are enjoying it on sourdough toast topped with scrambled eggs or smashed avocado. The latter has become a new brunch favourite in Inner-City cafes for many Inner-City Hipsters.
So, as I have personally considered myself an aficionado of Vegemite in all its various forms since I was very young, I thought I would put the new blend to the test. Here are my observations:
The new Special Edition jar is presented not in the familiar yellow and red label but rather a smaller version in a rather sleek black and silver box and label, making it look like more of a top shelf product. This is a very clever retail marketing device used across most industries.
Once opened, the colouring of the actual product is identical to its predecessor as a sticky black paste. Although I must say that the existing jar of original formula that resides in my refrigerator had a slightly glossier appearance. The aroma was subtle. This was a newly opened jar so the ingredients would not have contacted oxygen since the time of packaging.
Dipping my knife into the jar, the very first thing I noticed was that the new Blend 17 had a slightly softer, more creamier texture. My knife sunk deeply into the jar of product without any effort before spreading evenly and smoothly across the toast. I was taken by surprise because I’m not used to such spreadability from the older standard.
Now for the important stuff: The Taste. On my first bite I wasn’t so sure if it actually had a new flavour. I couldn’t quite tell if I could actually taste the classic familiar Vegemite nuances at all. It was not immediate. It’s in there somewhere. I know it is. Just give it time. A few more chews and … Success! The aroma started to weave its way up through my nasal passages. I discovered that the new product has potentially lost the classic immediate sensorial aroma. The flavour is a lot smoother and less defined. Hardly noticeable at first but with a slow development. It was definitely sweeter but not nearly as sweet as a similar product, such as Promite (which I also love, by the way).
A few more chews and it hit me. Ah! There is that familiar salty sensation that I recognise. The more I chewed, the sharper that special tingling sensation on my tongue became. This lead me to think that the new blend is actually more salty than the original product. It would appear on first exposure an interesting and more subtle Vegemite flavour but with a sharper bite of saltiness which tended to linger on the tip of my tongue after I’d finished consuming my toast.
Points of comparison:
1. New Vegemite Blend 17 is smoother in texture and has an easier application than the original Vegemite – the “OGV”.
2. The new Blend 17 has a more subtle flavour; a sweetness and definitely less impact then the original Vegemite which has a full bodied edamame sensation that you experience all over your tongue. The original has a deep richness at the back of your palate which permeates up through your nasal passages.
3. The saltiness of the new Blend 17 left a lingering, extremely sharp salty sensation at the tip of my tongue whereas the original Vegemite spread left my mouth with the sensation of a reasonable amount of saltiness to the sides and a little salty tingle at the tongue’s tip.
4. As Vegemite is traditionally spread on top a secondary, lubricating spread such as butter or margarine, this time I chose to spread my toast first with margarine. When I tried the new subtly flavoured Blend 17, I could not taste the extra product sandwiched between the toast and the spread. However when comparing to the original Vegemite product, I could taste everything – absolutely everything that I had in my mouth. I found this rather peculiar. Especially as I would have imagined the strength of flavour from the original to overpower any other additives. On the contrary, it enhanced the presence of the additional spread.
While I was pondering the fact that these products were packaged so differently yet tasted almost identical, it got me wondering just what was the purpose of having two? So I headed to the packaging itself. To my utter astonishment I discovered that the nutritional information was exactly the same. I checked the ingredients and again EXACTLY THE SAME! So not necessarily saltier or sweeter at all.
Could I have been deceived? Has some clever marketing genius succeeded in influencing my taste buds in such a way that I subconsciously believe that I have been consuming a different product altogether when in actual fact it was the same thing all along? Surely not. There were some physical attributes that I had found were distinctly different. Like the spreadability for example. The ingredients were the same and the nutritional information was exactly the same so perhaps it was all just whipped in a different way.
Vegemite say in their advertising that their new Blend 17 is “Richer and Bolder”. However in an attempt to procure more information as to why it may or may not differ in taste to the original blend, they do not appear to be responding (at this point in time) to any enquiries that I have made either through email or Social Media. So I guess we are left to make up our own reasoning as to why this new product exists and if indeed it was inevitably, just a worthwhile marketing exercise.
In conclusion I can’t say that the new Vegemite Blend 17 will be a stayer on the shelves of Australian supermarkets due to it being not that far removed from the original Vegemite experience. Although much like the previously controversial isnack 2.0 / Vegemite Cheeseybite spread, it is in Limited release. However I will say that the new Blend 17 may be a gentler, more palatable introduction to the product for our International Visitors or even those folks who might be a little hesitant to try Vegemite for the first time. It may ultimately be more palatable for an export market … but that is only my layman’s opinion.
There is nothing decidedly wrong with the new product but my own personal preference is with the OGV – the original Vegemite. “We all adore our (original) Vegemite. It puts a rose in every cheek.”
Try it for yourself and place your comments below.
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