Accounting for over 50 per cent of cultivation, India is the largest producer of mangoes in the world. “My favourite is the Raspuri, which gives off a subtle floral flavour,” shares Bengaluru-based Sriram Aravumudan, whose family home stands amidst an heirloom mango plantation. India is home to other varieties like the Sakkarepatna that’s available towards the end of summer, besides several other heirloom Goan varieties. We seek out some of these gems and where you can find them.
A new generation mango from the Srirangam-based Thathachariar Gardens, Imam Pasand is as large as a Banganapalli and bears the acidity of the Malgova. Mumbai-based food writer and mango connoisseur, Vikram Doctor romances the fruit. “The flesh is a light yellow that looks unripe. When you first bite in, there’s a sourness. But the flesh is ripely smooth — with little stringiness — and then you realise the sourness is really a citrusy tang that adds a zest to the sweetness,” he says. Easy to procure from April to mid-May, costing upwards of Rs 250 a kilo.
A popular variety up North, the Langra comes into the market just before the onset of the Mumbai monsoon. “This is a lively, slim mango that is quite acidic, very green, with a light yellow flesh of juicy goodness. The skin is thick enough to travel well and is quite the ideal variety to make waves in the mango loving southern belt of the country,” Doctor explains. Rs 300-Rs 600 a dozen.
“A fiercely guarded treasure from Goa, this variety plays second fiddle to even the universally-loved Hapoos variety,” insists Vivek Menezes, who is passionate about Goan food and produce. The reason this variety hardly makes it beyond Goa is because every tonne produced is consumed by the locals! “The same size as a Rathnagiri Hapoos, the Mankurad is fibre-free, incredibly juicy and has a richer, deeper flavour,” he adds. At Rs 450 a kilo, buy these during April and May.
This hybrid between Neelam and Dasheri is considered among the best of the new generation of Indian dessert mangoes. Its fibre-free flesh has a deep orange hue and is intensely rich and sweet. The hints of melon and citrus make it highly aromatic, while a distinct honey flavour is achieved while preserved as dehydrated slices. Originally from Andhra Pradesh, pick these up during mid-April to May. Rs 75 onwards a kilo.
Another Goan mango, the Hilario is loved by children for its high sugar content. Relatively smaller than a Mankurad, its flesh is quite pale, the colour leaning towards white. With the total lack of fibre, the pulp is clean, intense and juicy. “Hilario has fantastic national and international potential, as they travel well and certainly require a lot more attention from the rest of the country,” Menezes assures. Available from the end of May to June, priced between Rs 250 to Rs 500 a dozen.
The original Alphonso that put Indian mangoes on the map, is now an heirloom variety with only a couple of thousand trees in native Goa, then occupied by the Portuguese. The variety yields considerably bigger sized fruits that are deep in colour, with tones of honey and sweet cinnamon spice. Available only during April and May, at Rs 300 to Rs 600 a dozen.
The Goan varieties are available at Mapusa market, Margoa Municipal Market and Vasco Market in Goa.While the Langra can be purchased at Crawford Market, Mumbai, Imam Pasand and Mallika are available at Koyembedu, Chennai.
This year, stick to healthy mangoes free of pesticides. Start with the natural mangoes sold just outside the Taylors Road home of C Ramakrishna, who grows around 35 varietes (like Jahangir, Pedda Rasalu and Suvarnarekha) at his farm near Pondicherry. Available from Monday. Details: 7502680715
? Vaer Organic, RA Puram: Order here and you get a complimentary box of varieties like Sindhura (Rs 80 per kilo onwards), Malgova, Imam Pasand and Alphonso. Details: 9444667070
? Organic Green store, Anna Nagar: Expect four varieties — Sindhura (Rs 90 a kilo), Alphonso (Rs 120), Imam Pasand (Rs 60) and Banganapalli (Rs 120). Details: 9626278090
? ReStore, Kottivakkam: They organise bazaars on Tuesdays and Saturdays, offering Sindhura at Rs 40 a kilo. Details: 24921093
? Organic Shandy, Mylapore: On Fridays. Expect Alphonso (Rs 150 a kilo), Sindhura (Rs 80 a kilo) and more. Details: 7708612348