May 18, 2007

The Alphonso, widely-considered “the holy grail of mangoes”, made its first legal appearance in American markets in decades earlier this month; it is, perhaps, the “most highly-anticipated fruit delivery ever” according to The New York Times. The new nuclear and trade pact between the U.S. and India is, as one of our favorite food writers, Madhur Jaffrey, points out: “A win-win deal – India gets nuclear fuel for its energy needs and America, doing far better in what might be called a stealth victory, finally gets mangoes.”

Although mangoes are now cultivated in temperate climates around the world (including Africa, the U.S., and Central America), and there are thousands of varieties available in a variety of shapes and sizes, India remains the world’s largest producer. In a country where the mango tree is considered sacred, tops chefs are likely to agree that this “king of mangoes”, the Alphonso, is the sweetest and most flavorful of them all.

We think mangoes are best enjoyed on their own (why mess with something so perfect?), but they are also marvelous added to smoothies, salsas, and salads. To buy good mangoes:
First: Make sure the mango has a tropical, fruity aroma — an unripe mango has no scent.
Second: Squeeze gently – a fresh mango will give slightly to the touch.

Cook the Book Club: Mango Ice Cream with Caramelized Mango
(recipe adapted from this month’s pick-
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day by Roy Finamore).

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