Those of you who are not completely up to date with the critical issues in current international news may have missed the controversy that this advert has stirred up across the British Isles. Some people are shocked by the way the serious themes of child and animal abuse have been evoked for something so frivolous as the marketing of the salty, malty tea time spread. Others think the ad is funny. And then there are the people who are reminded that they actually do have a somewhat neglected jar of Marmite in the cupboard and they had better eat it soon.
In my case, it's not one jar, but two. Two lovingly imported pots of the black, tarry stuff that have been lingering at the back of the shelf for well over a year. (I'm pretty sure it keeps forever though.)
And yet, my mother was horrified to discover that after only one week of my presence in her house, their jar was practically finished, because I have been eating it every day for breakfast and sometimes for lunch as well.
It seems that there are some foods which just don't travel well, and not because they're fragile or perishable. In the case of Marmite, I think the problem is actually French bread. It doesn't toast well enough, and the flavour of your average baguette is far too delicate to cope with Marmite's strong taste. I rarely buy other kinds of bread from the boulangerie because they're very expensive, come in awkward shapes, and tend to go too hard even for toasting by the second day. And don't even get me started on the weird sugariness of "American Sandwich" bread which you can't even buy in thick slices.
Here are some other foods which fall into this category:
Spritz Aperol: this is probably my favourite summer drink in Italy, but I've never been tempted to bring a bottle home and, despite the recent marketing campaign, I don't see myself ordering it in a UK bar either. It's a drink for hot weather and is best when mixed by an attractive Italian bar man :-)
Fish Suppers: should only be eaten after a day of serious physical work, preferably sitting on a concrete wall while the sea breeze blows slightly damp air in your face.
Cheese fondue: again, you really need to have spent a day in the mountains to deserve this one, and it always tastes better when both the cheese and the wine are local.
Would you add any others to the list?