Thanks to a steady dose of Kenji, I’ve for some time known about Marmite. The essential “umami bomb” of yeast extract has quite a reputation as being a “love it or hate it” topping for toast, but I’ve seldom encountered it in stores. Still, ever the curious eater, I just assumed I’d eventually stumble upon it, and what’s more, I assumed I’d love it.
So when my friend Melissa shot me over a care package from the Great White North (read: Canada) that included a bag of Marmite Potato Crisps, I damn near fell over in anticipation. That the bag touted the kindly attempts to cajole the taste buds through a supercilious claim of “good old potatoes supercharged with a heady dose of lovely marmite” certainly made me ready to give the crisps my stamp of approval, and all but provided the impetus to buy a plane ticket to England.
Much to my dismay, however, I must not “get” Marmite, because these chips seemed mundane and ordinary. Opening the bag, I discovered an odd aroma reminiscent of something I’d expect infecting the pantry of a hippie commune, and with the first taste of the crispy-but-not-crunchy “crisp,” I failed to detect much more than garlic, onion, and a weak potato flavor. There was a slightly “musky” aftertaste (for lack of a better word) with an odd lingering flavor, but the presence of the umami flavor element, if present, didn’t conform to any meaty profile.
The more and more I venture into the forray of fried potato products, the more I’m convinced that keeping it simple is better. From the humble McDonald’s fry to a simple bag of crunchy Utz Kettle Classics, I’m much more apt to favor the characteristics which make the potato great (earthy, starchy, salty) than those which try to capitalize on potentially off-the-wall flavor combinations. That being said, I’d be these if I ever saw them. If only to feign a crummy British accent to the kid asking “what the hell is this?” at the grocery store.
Marmite Potato Crisps
- Price: $N/A (another greta gift)
- Ranking: 4/10
- Chances I’d Buy Again: 80%