Mangoes have an important place in Indian culture, the fruit and the leaves of the mango tree are used as decoration in many Hindu festivals, public events such as speeches and at weddings. The mango is the national fruit of India and it has attained fame even in the bygone era as it is said that Emperor Akbar was so fond of the fruit that he planted an enormous mango orchard!
Mangoes have been my favorite amongst fruits. For me, summer in India often means gorging on mangoes till my face turns blue! Mango season generally begins in April and ends in June. The Sendhura mango, grown largely in South India is the first to arrive and is the perfect beginning.
There are various other varieties of mangoes in India, Badami and Kallapadi are commonly found mango varieties. Badami has been called the Alphonso of Karnataka because of their similarity in tastes. Badami mangoes are best eaten in the beginning and middle of May. Dasheri is largely grown in the Northern parts of India. Malihabad in Uttar Pradesh is the largest producer of Dasheri mangoes in India.
Langra mangoes are originally from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. This variety can be found all year long. Banganapalli mangoes are favoured for their sweet smell and juicy insides. These are large and a light yellow colour, very popular in the southern Indian states.
Chandrakan is hugely popular in Kerala and this green mango is used in the making of several delicacies.
Totapuri, Mallika and Neelam mangoes arrive later in the market. Totapuri is often eaten with a sprinkling of chilli powder and salt – a favorite street-food. The Mallika mango is a cross between the Dasherri mango and the Neelam.
Mangoes are the king of fruit and the Alphonso is the king of mangoes. Named after Portuguese nobleman Afonso de Albuquerque, it is often called ‘Hapus’ in Maharashtra and Gujarat. It is known as a superior variety because it is rich in sweetness and flavor.
With its large variety and delicious taste, it has made us its slaves and I have always found it hard to resist from gorging on them!