My mate, Marmite

There are many things I have learnt in my short time here in Norway that you can’t get here.  Or if you can they are at least at an exponential cost.  So each time I go home I bring back food stuffs from our fair isle to the ‘Paris of the North’, also known as Tromsø.  (I didn’t just make that up, it is commonly referred to that I have found)

Things that I was specifically in need of, or had been requested to bring back were…

  • Proper tea – because Lipton tea is really not equivalent and to me does taste like I am on holiday in mainland Europe as its often the only tea on offer. My Norwegian colleagues were surprised to hear that Lipton is not what every British person drinks. It might be a  UK brand but its rare that you can buy anything other than Lipton ice tea in most supermarkets and doesn’t beat a mug of Tetley, PG or even supermarket own brand.
  • Curly Wurlys – it is impossible to buy this delightful childhood chocolate here and although Norwegian chocolate really is very good and other Cadbury/Mars/Nestle products are on offer, I was specifically requested to buy some for one of my friends who was so utterly delighted at his multipack of Curly Wurlys he had to have one for breakfast yesterday
  • KP Dry Roasted Peanuts – my peanut addiction is rather severe but a salted nut just won’t cut it and it HAS to be KP. No other dry roasted will do.  I might have to start shipping it in vats….
  • And last but by no means least…Marmite

So today was an educational session at work.  I mean every day is a school day after all, however this time it was specifically for the delight that is marmite.   Sceptical is the word I would use to describe most of my colleagues when it came to the suggestion that we should try this.  One colleague in particular was very keen to try whilst the others did so with far more trepidation.

I was conscious to keep it simple, despite marmite’s clear versatility*, so proposed some bread, a little butter and then marmite spread on top.  Watching peoples faces as they tried it was not dissimilar to watching a small child eating a slice of lemon for the first time as the taste buds adjust to this often considered ‘acquired taste’.

True to form, Marmite split the room in terms of love and hate.  With comments being it was ‘too strong a flavour’, ‘too salty’, ‘why would you eat that’ to ‘I could see that would go well with cheese’, ‘surprisingly nice’ and ‘maybe it would go well on pizza’

I was then asked how you eat it…

*Ways to eat marmite (selected):

  • On bread/toast as described above
  • On bread/toast as described above when hungover
  • On crumpets
  • As marmite soldiers to dip into a runny egg
  • On toast with scrambled egg on top – honestly don’t knock it until you have tried it
  • On toast and grilled with cheese
  • A spoonful in cooking as a flavouring e.g. in Shepherds pie/Lasagne
  • With pasta – not my first choice but my brother did, when he ran out of pasta sauce at university, use a bit of marmite and butter as a replacement

Interestingly Norway also has a number of food stuffs with an ‘acquired’ taste two of which are:

So anyone coming to visit me will also be expected to taste these to have the true experience, brunost sliced with a cheese slicer which is in fact a Norwegian invention (pub quiz gold!)