Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Marmite afternoon tea

The prize for silliest idea of the year so far (admittedly we're only 7 days into 2009) has to go to the food and beverage department of the Dorchester which has dreamed up a Marmite afternoon tea. The Marmite component apparently consists of Marmite and cucumber sandwiches which sounds pretty yukky to me. And that seems to be it. Price £31.50 per person. Minus service, I presume.

I suppose if you're rich enough to go to the Dorchester for tea £31.50 is peanuts but it seems shockingly bad value to me, even by London standards.

Here's a suggestion. Go off to your local supermarket or corner shop and buy a packet of crumpets. Toast them really, really well (there's nothing worse than a soggy crumpet), slather them with butter and spread with a thin smear of Marmite. Cost per head (assuming you have butter and Marmite and eat two crumpets) about 31.5p - 100th of the price of the Dorchester tea.

BTW you know this big thing about Marmite lovers and loathers - the idea that everyone falls into one of two camps. I really don't buy it. I actually quite like Marmite - especially on crumpets - and Ryvita crispbread, now I come to think of it - but I never crave it. On the other hand I don't like Vegemite or other Marmite substitutes which is annoying as it really seems to have gone up in price, particularly with these new squeezy bottles. What about you? And have you ever found a good low cost alternative?

18 comments:

notSupermum said...

Marmite? Bleugghhhh!

verity said...

I'm glad you fall into the category like me of people who are "indifferent" to Marmite. I'll eat it, but I only have it in the cupboard because my boyfriend loves it.

Slice of life said...

I like it. Wouldnt go over board on it. I particulary like it when I am ill.

As kids my elder sister would beat marmite and butter together. then when us younger ones would come home from school, we could make ourselves a sandwich without getting tonnes of things out of the cupboards and either putting marmite in the butter, a capital offence in my parents house, or splog's of butter in the marmite. Every one was happy. I shared a house with some one who would dip Twiglets into marmite and eat them in front of the tv.

Isnt marmite the yeast rubbish left over from making beer? Or is that an urban myth

emily said...

Actually marmite and cucumber sandwiches are lovely - in fact they were my choice for breakfast this morning. I wouldn't pay £31 for them though.

Career Misfit said...

Not very filling, is my first thought about Marmite sandwiches.

Having stopped over with some friends at New Year I tried Tesco's own version of Marmite, which is about a pound cheaper than brand, I think. It had a texture more like chocolate spread and the bitter taste was slightly more intense, but it was adequate enough.

Caroline said...

I love Marmite, but I CAN'T STAND the new squeezy bottles. And they are plastic and therefore worse for the environment than the glass ones. I wouldn't pay £31.50 for afternoon tea, though ....

Greenlady said...

Well, I do love Marmite but I don't *have* to have it in the house. I actively dislike Vegemite ( way too grainy a texture ) and have tried own brand yeast extracts which are ok but not quite the same.

The afternoon tea may not sound very filling but the standard Dorchester afternoon tea is 29.50 and you get a selection of sandwiches followed by scones and pastries and as much tea/coffee as you can drink, so in the end you would end up eating a surprising amount. I imagine the Marmite tea is very similar. There are slightly cheaper places to have afternoon tea in London such as Browns Hotel but in the end you are paying for the place, the atmosphere and the experience rather than the value of the meal components. It depends what your idea of a treat is...I guess the Marmite tea is a bit of a gimmick but then even posh city hotels are feeling the financial bite and having to come up with new ideas to pull in the punters....

I like Marmite and cucumber sandwiches very much but because of the way salt or salty substances leach the moisture out of the cucumber, you have to eat them very soon after making. And you will be no doubt revolted to know that one of my favourite combos is hot toasted crumpet + butter + marmite + nutella on top :P

Fiona Beckett said...

Aaaargh, greenlady, that's waaaaay over the top! Mind you I can't stand Nutella in the first place.

I stand reproved though by you and Emily about Marmite and cucumber sandwiches. I shouldn't pontificate without having tried them and will as soon as I can find a cucumber at a reasonable price.

Hugely practical suggestions about blending Marmite and butter Slice of Life. Am not too sure about dunking Twiglets though but I do like them undipped.

Not encouraged to try Tesco yeast spread given your feedback, CM.

And is Dorchester tea good value? Take your point about surroundings but there are cheaper options, even in Park Lane. Tea at the Grosvenor House for example starts at £9.50 which seems to me a really good deal for Mayfair. Though still about 30 times as expensive as Marmite and crumpets at home ;-)

Silicon Limey said...

My mum always used to make marmite and cucumber sandwiches and they are lovely; the cucumber cuts the harshness of the marmite very well.

But over £30! That's for people with more money than sense.

Angie said...

Most people in Oz like Vegemite, I prefer Promite. Going back many, many years I remember being told about mixing marmite & butter together. It was at an Ideal Home Shoe at (I think) Earls Court.

clairef said...

I used to eat marmite and cucumber sandwiches on an almost daily basis as a child. Honestly, they're really very good.

Caitlin said...

Vegemite is not a marmite substitute - it's the real thing. Marmite is a poor substitute for vegemite. And yes, I'm Australian and you knew there would be at least one comment of this sort, didn't you?

I have never tried mar/vege -mite with cucumbers. I'm not wild about the idea. But vegemite is really very good with avocado.

Anonymous said...

I grew up on Marmite as it was virtually the only thing i would eat as a toddler. I love it, spread very thickly. And I also love Marmite and cucumber sandwiches, but I won't eat any of the substitutes like vegemite (YUK).

Greenlady said...

I'd just like to point out to Caitlin that Marmite was first manufactured in 1902 and Vegemite in 1923. So Vegemite was an "imitation " if you like of Marmite.

Personal tastes are all very well but facts are facts :)

Fiona Beckett said...

I don't think Caitlin was talking about chronology, greenlady, more using the 'real thing' in the sense of being the 'real deal'. not that, as a Pom, I could possibly agree with you, Caitlin.

I have just bought a cucumber and intend to experiment with cucumber and Marmite sandwiches for tea tomorrow. Or possibly even for breakfast . . .

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Redford said...

I'm on that side of the fence that don't enjoy marmite. And that's putting it mildly. I'm an OXO fan, yes you read correctly OXO. back in South Africa they sell it as a spread like bovril and to me it's ten times better than marmite. I believe that's because it's a meat extract, not a vegetable one like marmite. But as they say in the classics: 'Unto each his own.' Have a gander at these
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