This is a house of Marmite lovers.
We are card-carrying fans of the yeast spread who actively seek out a hotel buffet that has those novelty heart-shaped portions; we incorporate it into all foods including scrambled eggs, and have been lusting after the £895 Anya Hindmarch Marmite tote bag for years.
Not only is it rich in B vitamins, vegan and made of 99 per cent by-product of brewing (sustainable before it was cool), Marmite is just fundamentally delicious. Forget “You either love it or you hate it”, the slogan would be more accurate as “You either love it or you are wrong”.
The delicious flavour of Marmite even got me, a peanut-butter-hater, eating peanut butter when the Marmite-infused PB was launched. Such is my inability to resist its delicious flavour.
Unlike some other brands, Marmite, which has been around since 1902, doesn’t regularly do new flavours. Apart from the aforementioned peanut butter – and varieties with less salt or in a squeezy bottle rather than a jar (and a misguided version of an Easter egg) – it doesn’t need to keep us enthralled with sequins and glitter.
It respects the refined palette of the Marmite connoisseur, who wants consistency at the breakfast table.
But with sales of yeast spreads increasing to £54m last year from £46m in 2019, according to Kantar, and growing demand for spicy foods from British consumers, the Marmite experts decided to experiment with a new chilli Marmite.
When it was announced that the “Dynamite” Marmite was going to be sold in Sainsbury’s and online for six months from 11 February (at a cost of £3.99), I couldn’t wait to give it a go. I am the ultimate customer to be won over by this (even my mum forwarded it to me suggesting I try it).
So let’s start with the facts. Firstly the product has been marketed as explosively hot – the press release tells customers to “be careful with it” and the billboard advert features a dramatic scene where it appears the lid has exploded out of the picture and destroyed a nearby car.
Secondly, you should know I am a fan of a korma or garlic lentils at the curry house. This fact should be helping you to paint a picture of this taste test and my personal spice tolerance.
On Monday, high on the start of yet another tediously dull week in lockdown, I decided lunch would be the best laboratory for this scientific endeavour – a toasted English muffin with butter and Dynamite Marmite.
Unable to resist waiting till the toaster had finished my partner had some from the lid – the verdict: “It tastes just like normal Marmite?”
Unwilling to believe that the experiment was over with such an uninspiring verdict (and concerned that he may have some undiagnosed type of Covid loss of taste), we persisted and tried it out on the muffin.
It was yeasty, sticky, salty and delicious as per usual, but the only vague suggestion of heat was an indistinguishable tongue tingle.
In a bid to shake up the variables, we tried it straight from a teaspoon, and even (unwisely) dipped some cashew nuts into the jar.
All the routes led to the same outcome: delicious but disappointingly lacking the much-promised fire in our mouths.
Yes, there was perhaps an aftertaste of warmth, but if someone had fed it to you without prior knowledge that it was a new flavour, you would surely conclude it was the regular version.
Overall I was underwhelmed – my mid-range tolerance for spice (which many people would rightly see as low tolerance) was not tested, nor even challenged. I understand the creators not wanting to blow our brains at 7am in the morning when we’re eating our Bran Flakes but a little more would have been welcome.
On the plus side, it means we have a new jar of Marmite to work through, but if I was hoping for something different on my toast I’d be left wanting.
Marmite Dynamite is available to buy in Sainsbury’s or online now, for a limited period.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies