Breakfast Spreads Put to the Test

T Australia’s food critic Besha Rodell pitches Vegemite’s tastiest competitors against one another to determine which is the mite-iest of them all.

Article by Besha Rodell

EveryMite was inspired by the creators’ young son. Photography by Edward Urrutia. Styling by Anna Lavdaras.

Look, there is only one Vegemite. I’m as loyal to the salty, yeasty, umami-rich national icon as anyone else, and perhaps even more so since I spent years of my life living overseas and having to defend the stuff to roommates and boyfriends and friends. (I won most of them over — Vegemite always triumphs when presented correctly.)

But there can never be too much of a good thing, and there are a ton of alternatives these days, many of them new to the market. I took several for a spin and am delighted to report that many of them are fantastic on their own merits.


Created as a Vegemite alternative for people with food allergies, EveryMite was inspired by the creators’ young son. He couldn’t eat store brands, so his parents made a version with no soy, gluten, dairy, nuts or eggs, and a base of black sesame seeds. The slightly gritty paste smells like balsamic vinegar (it contains apple cider vinegar) but tastes like a deep, rich tahini. It works particularly well in salad dressings. $15.95 (240 grams),


When it launched in 2001, AussieMite was the brand people turned to for a gluten-free yeast spread. Vegemite now offers a gluten-free version, but many sufferers of coeliac disease have stayed loyal to AussieMite. This product is probably the closest to Vegemite in taste and texture of all those sampled, though it is slightly more spreadable and possibly more intense-tasting. $5.85 (175 grams),


If there were a spread that could challenge my devotion to Vegemite, this would be it. Like the original, it is made with spent brewer’s yeast and malted barley, however it also has organic miso and an intense umami flavour with notes of red wine and coffee, plus a certain meatiness (even though Oomite is 100 per cent vegan). That’s the good part. The bummer is that Oomite in its pure form is not available as a retail product; it is only sold wholesale to cafes and restaurants. But do not despair! The company has partnered with Pepe Saya Buttery to offer a limited-edition Oomite-infused cultured butter, which is devastatingly delicious. Oomite x Pepe Saya Butter, $8 (100 grams),


Alice Zaslavsky, the author of “In Praise of Veg” and all-round vegetable guru, is the brains behind Tumami, a umami paste made solely from tomatoes and black garlic. I’m not sure I’d spread it on my morning toast — it tastes closer to tomato paste than a traditional ’mite — but I will be busting out my Tumami to use as a flavour-enhancer when I’m making soups, sauces, gravy and anything else on my stove that calls for a shot of magic. $15 (110 grams),

Good Ways Deli Vegemite Scroll

OK, so this is not an alternative to Vegemite, but it is an alternative to that fantastic staple of school lunches: the Bakers Delight cheesy Vegemite scroll. If you, like me, never lost your adoration for the cheesy-mite scroll, you will go weak for the elevated version at Good Ways Deli in Redfern, Sydney, made with soft, stretchy dough and hunks of zesty cheddar. It’s enough for me to want to bring the ritual of recess snack roaring into my adult life. $6.50,