God, how I loved stuffed-crust pizza as a kid. We always ordered standard pies from a local Italian place—shout out to Cioffi’s of Union, New Jersey—so the chain pizzerias’ stuffed-crust novelties remained even more exotic in my eyes, the highlight of other kids’ birthday parties. Papa John’s UK has taken the novelty factor even further, stuffing the crust with not cheese or pepperoni but Marmite, a paste made of concentrated brewers’ yeast. Mmm?
The spread is apparently as divisive in the UK as it is in the U.S., where it is generally lumped in with its Australian condiment cousin, Vegemite, as culinary punching bags. Marmite’s general flavor is an ultrasavory, almost meaty umaminess, which—stop and think before rushing to judgment—sounds like exactly what you’d want out of a pizza. Earlier this year, Papa John’s UK introduced Marmite cheese scrolls, which look like garlic knots or cinnamon buns, so presumably the chain has realized there’s an untapped market for pizza crust stuffed with a spread some say tastes like toe jam.
What would be Marmite’s American equivalent? Anchovy stuffed-crust? We’re just not a culture that embraces that specific savory-funky flavor combination. If you’re the outlier, you can visit any of the 400 Papa John’s locations in the UK beginning March 25, for a limited time.