Marmite and chocolate. The perfect combination.
But now it seems the powers that be have caught on, and Marmite have come out with an official chocolate bar. I’m in two minds about this. While they’ve clearly copied Paul’s idea, it does make me happy that someone up there in Unileverland is actually paying attention.
But can Marmite possibly work with a mass produced milk chocolate? And how does it compare to the original.
There’s only one thing for it… Marmite Fight!
Paul A. Young was kind enough to donate one of his own bars for little face-off, and straight off, the most obvious difference is size. The official bar gives you 100g, whereas Paul’s bar is just 50g.
But size isn’t everything…
The official bar looks a rather sickly colour in comparison to the rich, dark red 64% Madagascan dark chocolate that Paul uses. But the 31% milk chocolate of the official version is by no means the worst chocolate we’ve ever seen.
But when the Marmite on Marmite action begins, the differences become clear.
Break off a chunk of Paul’s bar, and the Marmite XO immediately starts to ooze out. You can see, smell and taste that it’s real Marmite. The official version just looks like any regular milk chocolate.
A glance at the ingredients reveals “Marmite Flavouring” which includes onion and garlic powder as well as yeast extract. Although it has some of ingredients in common with Marmite, I don’t think it’s actually real Marmite.
I would imagine that’s a manufacturing decision – try to recreate the flavour, but keep it as cheap and easy to make as possible.
Paul has taken exactly the opposite approach. His bar is simply the best quality dark chocolate and Marmite XO straight from the jar.
But taste is the most important thing. To get some feedback from other people, I took the official bar to a cocktail evening and gave people a chunk to try. Quite surprisingly, there weren’t any particularly negative comments. People noted that it smelled like Marmite, but didn’t quite taste like Marmite.
That’s something I agree with. There is a certain Marmiteyness there, but it’s quite subtle, with the flavour seeming to come from small crystals, rather than being evenly distributed in the chocolate. The saltiness does enhance the flavour of the (slightly too sweet) milk chocolate, and it’s actually quite pleasant.
And that’s the problem. Everyone that tried it thought it was ‘quite pleasant’ as well. This is a toned down, mass market take on Paul’s love it or hate it bar. And that’s just not Marmite. They’ve taken the safe route and ended up with something a bit bland.
Yet when I try Paul A. Young’s version, it still makes me giggle. The flavours are so weird that it just shouldn’t work, but for me it does. I know a couple of chocolate lovers who hate it, but personally, I just love it. It is in fact, still the only real Marmite chocolate bar you can buy.