As you probably know from previous posts, I love and respect all god’s chocolate. I do not discriminate based on color (milk v. dark), nationality (Swiss v. American), name (Russell Stover v. Godiva) or point of origin (CVS/Walgreen’s v. Vosges/Maison du Chocolat).
But there is one place I draw the line: at the spice rack. I think I understand “Lost” better than I understand the concept of pairing chocolate with “seasonings” like chili pepper, saffron, cardamom, and rosemary. There’s chocolate, and then there’s crap you buy at open-air bazaars on the streets of Morocco. And ya don’t mix ‘em. This is a policy to which I should have stuck earlier this week.
My coworker (let’s call him “Kyle”) came up to my desk and began unwrapping a very thin chocolate bar covered in delicate foil. He broke off three squares and handed them to me, which would have been a lovely gesture were it not for one teensy detail: this was no ordinary chocolate. This was marmite chocolate. I’d seen “Kyle” post about a gift of marmite chocolate on Facebook, but I’d assumed he was kidding. He wasn’t.
Now, marmite is something that I had previously never tried but somehow just knew was vile. Perhaps it was the word’s resemblance to both “varmint” (and subsequently “vomit”) as well as “termite.” Perhaps I’d been turned against it by Cousin Vegemite, made famous in New Jersey by Men at Work and “The Land Down Under.” But I’d once been foie gras-averse too. Maybe marmite was worth trying?
I took the tiniest possible bite of the first square. What followed reminded me of Willy Wonka’s meal replacement gum – the one responsible for Violet Beauregarde’s demise-by-three-course meal. Course One of this freakish chocolate was a strong, bitter taste reminiscent of espresso. That quickly morphed into a yeasty, raw bread dough sensation. Finally, I felt like I was eating a piece of very dark chocolate at the same time as a tablespoon of onion powder and a clove of minced garlic. And long after I’d swallowed, I continued to feel that way. I assure you: it is not a good feeling.
The marmite chocolate packaging told us we would find a “hint of marmite indulgence” inside. I am lead to believe that the manufacturer and I have different definitions of “indulgence.”
I think the British chef quoted in this article from the Daily Mail sums it up best when he describes the taste: “…deeply nauseating.”