10 min. 15 min.
OH MY GOSH! Alphonso Mangos are EVERYTHING.
For about 20 years I have heard people speak in awe about the Alfonso Mango. Specifically, my best friend “A” would tell tales about her visits to India and eating them while she was there, nearly overdosing from the fruit that couldn’t be obtained in the U.S.
I’ve been interested in trying them for two decades, but alas, the North American Mango Cabal (it’s real name is the National Mango Board) used to have a ban on the import of this fruit. While the Alphonso Mango is known worldwide as “The King of the Mangoes”, it only grows happily in India. Attempts to grow it in North American have failed. With the shipping distance from India to the US being so long, plus the fruit’s delicate nature, importing them is an expensive logistical challenge.
A few months ago, Munchies/Vice wrote an interesting article about the Alphonso Mango and why they are so hard to get: the difficulty includes politics and protectionism, in addition to the logistical shipping challenges.
It seemed to me that my desire for Alphonso Mangoes was one that would be unfulfilled until I could get to India.
UNTIL SOMETHING INCREDIBLE HAPPENED!
Last week, my friend “A” came across some Alphonso Mangoes in the SF Bay Area. She brought one to Los Angeles for me, and I have lovingly kept it in a paper bag waiting for it to ripen.
The smell was bright like a mild perfume. It was ripe: perfectly soft without being mushy. It has the perfect firmness that allowed for easy, clean cuts.
When I opened it up, I was sad to find that it has rotted on the inside, starting from the seed and permeating outwards.
However, always one to find the bright side, I was able to salvage scraps of coveted Alphonso Mango meat from the sides of the fruit.
When I tell you it was the most amazing fruit taste I have ever tasted, please trust me.
It reminded me of the first time I tried fresh passionfruit pulp. There are just some fruits that are so unique they have no distant cousin that comes close. There’s just nothing like it. Have you ever had a glass of white wine and you are told that it has “tropical fruit notes”, and you can’t place what specific tropical fruit it is, but the taste is fruity and delicious and you wish you could find out what fruit that is so you could eat all of it. Well, I have found it. It’s the Alphonso Mango.
The Alphonso Mango is nothing like the mangoes available in the United States. By that, I mean this mango is amazing and much better than anything we can get in the U.S. The meat is soft, almost creamy. It’s not stringy or fibrous at all. The flavor is a burst of juicy magical fruit essence that is truly unlike anything you’ve ever had.
I was able to find 5 solid pieces that I could eat. And I savored them as if it were the last meal I would ever have.
This rotten Alphonso Mango has tempted and teased me, given me enough to fall in love, but still longing for more. I’ve got a few more weeks before the season is over: maybe a flight to India is in order?