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Jan 24, 2010 04:53 PM

Vegemite [Sandwich]

Anyone know where to find kosher vegemite in NYC? A brief Google search reveals a small brouhaha about the kashrut status of vegemite a few years ago, but no clear picture as to its kashrut status now.

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  1. try a store that sells British products - although it's really Australian it has made it's way to Britain.

    1. All vegemite made since about a year ago is kosher. Look for EITHER the Kosher Australia logo, OR a K next to the date inkjetted on the bottom.

      1. I think we bought ours at Frank's Market, on 187th between Ft. Washington Avenue and Pinehurst, but I've also seen it at Fairway.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GilaB

          Its Australia week this week in many supermarkets so it should be easier to find...

        2. I have to ask. Why? Are you a displaced Aussie? I can't imagine that an American would want this product. When we lived in Oz years ago, we tried and tried to like this, as it was such a local favorite. We never even got close. That said, The Australian Catalog folks have a great website where you can order this and other Aussie delights.

          7 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            My extremely American husband loves it, and smears it on most starchy things, up to and including pizza crusts. I don't really get it, but it's a harmless eccentricity :)

            1. re: GilaB

              Where did he acquire his taste for this? When we lived in Oz, our kindergartner son demanded that I supply him with a Vegemite sandwich for his lunch bag. That's what all the kids ate. Against my better judgment, I complied. Poor kid came home and asked (with a very puzzled look on his face) why anyone would voluntarily eat that stuff. I have to agree.

              1. re: pikawicca

                I just asked - apparently, in college, he was briefly in London, and went to the Marble Arch shul, where they served breakfast. Marmite was an option, and he took a giant glob of the stuff, thinking it was some sort of jam. Everybody laughed at him, and explained that he only wanted a thin scraping, which he tried, loved, and forgot about. Six or eight years later, he was at the house of an Australian friend. The Aussie pulled out some Vegemite for a sandwich, reminding Mr. GilaB of the wonderful Marmite stuff he'd had years back. He loved it so much that the Aussie brought him back a jar after his next trip home, and now we keep it around for him.

                But I'm with your son.

                1. re: GilaB

                  has anyone tried Cheesybite yet?
                  it's a new version of Vegemite that is diluted with cream cheese.

                  I thought some here may find interesting a recent inquiry I made to Kraft;
                  " Vegemite can no longer be found on supermarket shelves in the USA.
                  Kraft independently stopped exporting Vegemite to the United States.
                  The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not taken actions to stop the import of Vegemite into the United States.
                  Further, the regulatory authorities in Australia and the US have confirmed that there are no custom restrictions directed at travelers who may wish to take jars of Vegemite to the US for personal consumption.
                  However, the good news is that consumers may still obtain Vegemite through a number of online US-based retailers including the following: "

                  1. re: Joe Berger

                    Im pretty sure that was because there was some kerfuffle about added folate which is only allowed in milk and bread.

              2. re: pikawicca

                On a bagel with butter. Not bad. Not that I'd want to eat it everyday, but not bad.

              3. Just to clarify the kashrut situation with vegemite: Vegemite does not contain any treif ingredients, but historically it was always made on the same equipment as a treife product, so it was treif too. However, once a year the factory was closed for a thorough cleaning, which counts as a kashering, so back in the '80s Kraft started distinguishing the first batch of vegemite made on the newly-kosher equipment, by putting a K next to the use-by date. As soon as a batch of the treif product was made, the K was retired until the next annual cleaning.

                This continued until about a year or two ago, when a new factory was opened, with dedicated equipment used just for vegemite. Therefore any vegemite made in the new facility is kosher, and as of recently is labelled with the Kosher Australia logo.

                HOWEVER: Cheesybite is not made at that factory, and is NOT kosher.

                15 Replies
                1. re: zsero

                  good to know - thanks for elaborating.

                  1. re: zsero

                    To answer the query of why I would want to put myself through it - I just want to try what all the "fuss" is about. Thank you everyone for the explanations and the pointers. I have been unable to locate the hechshered versions at the british produce places in the West Village. I heard there is a store in the East Village that carries some Australian products - that is going to be next stop. While it is a mission of principle now, I am reluctant to venture to 187th Street for it just yet....

                    1. re: Kosher_Fiend

                      this is a domestic US shipper of vegemite. presumably his 5oz jars will be the most recent inventory, so order one of those in the mail, as it's probably coming from the all kosher "virgin" machines - or simply buy a sampler now...
                      BTW in case anyone knows of an area Aussie or riding fashion shop, please let me know. I'm looking to buy a full length riding oilskin cotton duster style coat still popular in Australia and Texas. I want to try them on locally, not just order it online and take my chances.

                      1. re: Joe Berger

                        Vegemite can also be added to soups, stews meat dishes etc. You do not have to limit yourself to putting it on bread.

                      2. re: Kosher_Fiend

                        I shared your curiosity. And I was in a kosher grocery in England. The brand they were selling was neither British nor Aussie. It was from South Africa. Marmite brand manufactured by Pioneer Foods in Cape Town. It is not ony hachschered and parve, it is Halal!

                        I know all of this because I still have the jar.

                        I saved it for a meal when most of the family was home, and we all had a wonderful time excoriating the culinary judgment of a people that could make a fetish of such a food.

                        1. re: AdinaA

                          I completely forgot about this thread until I saw your reply, AdinaA. I did manage to find a jar at the Australian food shop in the East Village. Still have a bit of it left. No regrets about trying it.

                          1. re: Kosher_Fiend

                            FWIW, Marmite is available at many nicer markets in the NYC area.

                            1. re: DeisCane

                              Nicer markets? Really? Because it's not nice to sell this stuff to unsuspecting Americans.

                              1. re: AdinaA

                                Zing! I had to try it in an international marketing class in business school and pretty much agree. OTOH, I could see the benefits of it as a flavor enhancer in soups, etc.

                                1. re: DeisCane

                                  To me it tastes like that Telma or Osem soup mix.

                                  Still I can't help but think of JumpStart Math when the characters start chanting "We want Vegemite!"

                          2. re: AdinaA

                            Marmite and vegemite are not the same product. Also, just to confuse things, NZ marmite is not the same product as UK/South African marmite. NZ marmite is kosher, as is the (UK-style) marmite that is produced in South Africa, but the marmite produced in the UK is NOT KOSHER.

                            Vegemite is now kosher, and carries the Kosher Australia logo, but if you find a jar that doesn't have the logo then it's from before it went kosher; in that case, it must have a K before the use-by date, to indicate that it's from a kosher batch.

                            1. re: zsero

                              I was under the impression that both Marmite and Vegemite were yeast autolysates, probably originally a means for utilizing spent yeasts from the brewing industry.

                              1. re: ganeden

                                Semantics, my dears, a tangle of semantics.

                                Vegemite and Marmite are different products in the sense that these are different trade names used by different producers. And apparently the recipes (formulae?) vary somewhat.

                                On the other hand, they are both as GanEden describes, the same yeast-derived glop.

                                1. re: ganeden

                                  Bread, cake, cookies, pastries, and matzah are all baked goods, but they're different products. Vegemite, UK/SA Marmite, NZ marmite are different products because they have different ingredients and taste different. People who like one will not necessarily like the others.

                                  1. re: zsero

                                    I've had both and they're fairly close. One is saltier but G-d help me if I could remember which. :-)