Vegemite: A Smelly Australian Favorite

A thin layer of Vegemite being spread on plain white toast.
Two slices of toast with butter and Vegemite melting on it — perhaps Australians favorite way of eating Vegemite.
Avocado and Vegemite smash on home made bread.
Looking straight down a Vegemite jar.
Woman making the cardinal mistake of consuming spoons full of Vegemite.
Breakfast consisting of Vegemite toast and coffee being served.
Vegemite on crackers.
Close-up image of a Vegemite label.

Like Americans have peanut butter and Britons have marmalade, Australians have a classic bread spread of their own, called Vegemite. Made from yeast extract and various spice additives, Vegemite may not sound, or even smell, like something you would want to put on your toast. But this is exactly what Australians do. Spreading a thin layer of Vegemite on a buttered piece of toast is a routine many Australians learn as children, and Vegemite itself is something these children generally find increasingly appetizing as they grow older.

With Vegemite, as mentioned, generally being an acquired taste, appreciation for the spicy spread normally increases the more you eat it. In line with this, seasoned Vegemite-eaters often develop their eating habits and over time combine the classic spread not only with the standard buttered toast, but also with foods like biscuits, avocado and cheese.

Eat in small amounts

The seasoned eaters, just like any other Australian with a jar of Vegemite in their pantry, know that the spicy mixture must be eaten in small amounts to taste the best. However, this knowledge is not something that non-Australians always possess. As a consequence, foreigners trying out Vegemite sometimes spread a thick layer of the black blend on their toast or eat it plain, thinking it could be consumed like peanut butter or Nutella. This almost guarantees an unpleasant experience, and partly explains why Vegemite has a rather unfavorable international reputation.

Further bringing Vegemite into international disrepute, as if the risk of involuntary overconsumption was not enough, Vegemite’s salty taste itself, in any quantity, is usually enough to discourage non-Australians from ever trying the black spread twice. Even so, given that people like different flavors, there are people outside of Australia who like Vegemite. If you, the consumer of this content, don’t shiver when imagining the combination of buttered bread, spicy soy sauce and a hint of bitter beer, you too may be among those who could learn to appreciate it.