- ATTENTION all Bovril fanatics! -
Scroll down to find out how YOU can become the proud owner of a very rare Bovril artifact!
The Bovril Shrine
It was during those halcyon high school days. Grade ten or
eleven, I believe. A bunch of us were over at a mutual friend's
house, watching videos down in the rec room and enjoying his
magnificent microwaved frozen pizzas. In between movies we
snooped around a bit, and stumbled upon a wonderful thing: the Bovril
Shrine. Now, in case you're not savvy to the Bovril Way, I'll fill
you in. Bovril, in essence, is liquid cow. There you have it.
(*NOTE- Since the fall of 2004, the Bovril recipe has changed from being cow-based to being vegetable-based. Most of this Web site's content was written before the changeover, "Old School" content if you like)
Mind you, this Bovril is the cat's pajamas for many people. Such
uses as soup, toast spread, and hot drinks are just a few of the
myriad of things Bovril can be found in or on. Anyway, back to
Our friend, of course, denied that the huge Bovril banner was a
genuine shrine we had found in his basement: it was merely part
of a bunk bed styled after an old double decker bus, complete
with advertising. It had long since been removed, and was placed religiously on his wall. But, as
we explored through his kitchen cupboards, our suspicions were
confirmed: Bovril everywhere, most of it being of the truly thick,
molasses-looking variety that you have to import from England. I say
"molasses-LOOKING", because molasses is just exactly the thing
that Bovril DOESN'T taste like. Which is what I found out that
night when our host offered us samples of it spread over toast. I
think the best description of its taste is this: think of the
saltiest thing you ever tasted, then think saltier. After our
exposure to this bovine treat, our host regaled us in stories of
his childhood days in Ireland, where he and his sister would sit
under the breakfast table eating copious amounts of toast and
Bovril, their father frantically trying to toast bread and spread
the tarry liquid fast enough to keep up with his children's voracious
Years later, I had moved to Toronto, Canada, where I became a
member of the Arts and Letters Club, a fine establishment with
strong British roots. I struck up a conversation with the cook
there one night, and we somehow made it on to the subject of
Bovril. Her face twitched somewhat at the mention of the product,
as she remembered having been force-fed the concoction when she
was a young child in England. To this day, she loathes Bovril to
the very depths of her existence (As an aside, she was also
forced to drink draught Guinness as a child, and hates it as
well. A pity on both accounts).
Ahh, but by this time I had fallen under the Bovril spell, and no
one could weaken my love for the taste of liquid cow. These days,
I often enjoy toast and Bovril, and occasionally enjoy a hot
Bovril elixir before I retire for the evening. If you are still a
Bovril virgin, I highly recommend taking the plunge!
BOVRIL is a registered trademark of Bestfoods.
If you would like to find the nearest Bovril oasis in your region, please contact Bestfoods using the following:
Consumer Affairs- Telephone: (317) 231-8044 Fax: (317) 636-2120
CPC International Inc.
International Plaza, P.O. Box 8000
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632-9976 USA
And if you need the brown tarry concoction pronto, Stephen Murray sent along the number of British Delights:
+1 978 667 6328
In Stephen's words, "We have finally managed to get Bovril (vegetarian) cleared for sale in the USA again".
I'll drink to that (By the way, Guinness and Bovril, a lovely combination).
For more on the wonders of Bovril, click here.
I recently received some correspondence from a Mr. Alan R. Goodwright, who wrote:
I am a retired architect in Ottawa who over the years collected artifacts and other pieces of interesting
memorabilia (ancient coins, old clay pipes, periodicals, etc.), and with 'old age' creeping up on me, I
am starting to disassemble my collection. As an example, last week, the Canadian War Museum
accepted my donation of historical magazines that were published in Manchester, England, during the
First World War. The museum has agreed to provide me with a receipt which will (I hope) substantially
reduce my next year's income tax!
To see some larger images of the pewter mug, please click here.
I have two artifacts from an even earlier war. The Boer War was waged in South Africa from 1899 to 1902.
Following cessation of the hostilities, the troops of the European and North American allies remained in
South Africa until 1906, during which time they reconstructed, and paid for, the ravages of the war. The
soldiers were, of course, issued with the requisite equipment, and one of the two artifacts in my
possession is a wooden ladle, on which the original soldier owner had written 'Sotuh Africa, 1903'. The
other artifact is that soldier's issued pewter drinking mug on which is a shield displaying the word 'BOVRIL'. It is a delightful little mug, and it is in remarkable condition considering that it is well over a
hundred years old.
I have been contemplating donating these articles also to the above museum, but when I found your
'Bovril' site, I thought that you or your 'Bovril' aficionados might be interested in owning this antique
To contact Mr. Goodwright for further details, you can Email him by clicking here.
Do you have any Bovril graphics, artifacts or nostalgic tidbits to share
with others on this site? Feel free to send any relevant Email to email@example.com.
Perhaps you think that we're alone in our fanaticism, hmmm? Well my friend, perhaps you'd best read on...
Here's fellow Bovril nut Jonathan Harpur, with a simple pleasure.
* Jonathan's latest glorious recipe for Bovril:
1) Toast an onion bagel.
My preference is for a colour tone which looks slightly darker than well-aged oak. -JWH
2) Butter it to the point where the butter is sitting in melted, oily puddles on the toast.
3) Add Bovril, lovingly but sparingly.
And for the violent set, visit the bovine barracks of one Christopher Howarth to observe the initiation rights of The Mad Cow Clan. It appears that they will kick your ass.