Pizza’s Newest Controversial Topping: Marmite

Photo of James Smart
2 April 2020

Forget a margherita or a meat feast – why not try Marmite on pizza? Here’s everything you need to know about the unusual combination, masterminded by Yard Sale Pizza in London.

Pizza toppings can be controversial. Chocolate, clams and eggs are all used (and abused) on pizzas. Icelandic president Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson whipped up a storm when he said he would like to ban the pineapple-toting Hawaiian style. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promptly tweeted that he thought it “delicious”.

Marmite, meanwhile, is no stranger to controversy. The dark brown, salty, yeasty British spread is divisive even in the UK, and cannot be sold in some European countries due to its many added vitamins.

Yard Sale Pizza – known for its inventive toppings – has five restaurants across London | | © Culture Trip

All of which means Marmite on pizza could get messy.

Yard Sale Pizza

Yard Sale Pizza opened in Clapton, East London in 2014. It now has five stores across the capital, offering everything from broccoli with manchego to courgette with pancetta, and of course the trusty, traditional margherita. But it doesn’t stop there: nestled towards the bottom of the menu is a garlic, cheese and Marmite pizza bread.

The pizza base is given a thin coating of oil before liquid Marmite is criss-crossed over it, with a liberal helping of cheese thrown in. It’s then whacked in the pizza oven before emerging, steaming hot and slightly blackened, to be dosed with more Marmite. And the results look pretty spectacular – if you’re a Marmite fan. Everyone else should stay well away.

A history of Marmite

Marmite was invented in the late 19th century, as a byproduct of the yeast used for brewing beer. The spread was a rich source of vitamin B, and was issued to troops in World War I after fears the British army might be vitamin-deficient. Today, it’s made with yeast extract, salt, vegetable extract, spice extracts and celery extracts, plus fortified vitamins.

Guinness-flavoured Marmite and Marmite-flavoured chocolate are among the spin-off products that have been promoted by the company’s owner, Unilever. Marmite pizza is a new idea, though it seems to have legs; hot on the heels of Yard Sale’s version, pizza conglomerate Papa John’s announced a Marmite-stuffed-crust version of their pizzas in 2019. The deal was short-lived, but Yard Sale’s marmite pizza seems to be here to stay.

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