Will the real king of fruits please stand up?
A Facebook discussion (no, read: Debate; on second thought, read: War) about which is India’s best mango sparked off this little survey. We took our own opinion poll in the office and just about prevented homicidal violence.brunch Updated: May 26, 2012 20:24 IST
Shouts of "Alphonso!" "No, Langda!" "Rubbish, Daseri!" "Are you mad? Of course it’s the Alphonso!" "You’re crazy! How can it not be the Chausa?" etc filled the air.
We finally struck an uneasy peace ("Oh all right, each to his own") but the delicate matter of which is India’s best mango remains.
So we asked a smattering of foodies and mango lovers to pick a favourite from over 400 varieties available in India. Here’s what they said:Vir Sanghvi
Do we really need to introduce him?
My favourite mango is the Hapus from Mumbai. But only if you call it Hapus. I am not prepared to gush over some Portuguese Alphonso.
The best way to enjoy any mango (other than in its natural form) is to make a mango Bellini: 30 per cent mango pulp and 70 per cent Prosecco (Italian white wine) or any other sparkling wine.
It is a summer drink that allows you to enjoy the best of India in an international manner. I also like the raw mangoes that they use in Kerala as a souring agent in their food. But I fear that the rest of us do not do mangoes enough justice as cooking ingredients. Vicky Ratnani
Chef consultant, gourmand and food connoisseur
My favourite is Hapus, (also known as the Alphonso) since it is the king of mangoes. It has a rich, luscious flavour. Apart from eating it just as a fruit, it tastes great in a salad or as a puree with seafood and/or chicken. Totapuri is another favourite. It has great flavour, it’s cheaper and as a result, more economical to use.
The best part is you don’t have to wait for the Totapuri to ripen. I love to use it in a mango crumble pie or sorbet.Ritu Dalmia
Chef, cookbook author and restaurateur
I love Alphonso but I also love Chausa and Kaeri. There is only one way to enjoy mangoes, just suck the flesh out!Pushpesh Pant
Author of India: The Cookbook and Gourmet Journeys in India
My favourite mango is the Daseri because I acquired the taste as a child. The Malihabadi Daseri is superior to any Hapus. The Daseri is aromatic, fleshy and has a thin skin. No Alphonso matches the Daseri. Also the Hapus is very expensive and overrated.
The Langda from Benares is another favourite. Mangoes rule our hearts and we can eat them in many forms, right from aam panna to aam ka achaar.
The joy of eating a mango cannot be fathomed. Whether it’s chutney or aam papad, mangoes can be enjoyed in every form.Rachel Dwyer
Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
The first ‘mango’ I had was in Sharwood’s mango chutney. My mother used to make me cheese and chutney sandwiches when I was a kid. My first real mango was at university and it was love at first bite.
I love Hapus mangoes. The aroma is the first assault on the senses. The plump and distinctive shape is that of the paisley while the bright orange colour is joyful. I love the smooth and slightly oily texture.
I do have a second favourite though. This is the Kachi Kaeri or green mango, which I like in fresh pickle, dal, panna, any which way actually.
However, I’ve never met an Indian who didn’t prefer mangoes from the region where they grew up. I would like to go to the equivalent of a wine tasting to be able to compare mangoes one day.Manish Mehrotra
Executive chef, Indian Accent, The Manor, New Delhi
My favourite is the Malda from Bihar. It's very fleshy and pulpy and gives you that satisfaction of eating a mango. Its seed is not very big and the skin is perfectly green.
The best way to have the Malda is to eat it just like that. There's no need to cut it either. Peel it, eat it and enjoy!Sam Miller
Writer and journalist
I am not dogmatic on the subject. I like lots of different kinds of mangoes – depending on the season, and where I am in the world.
Popular varieties of mangoes across the world include:
Cogshall, Dot, Duncan, Glenn, Haden, Kent, Torbert, Valencia Pride, Van Dyke, Zill, Bailey’s Marvel, Beverly from USA
Brahm Kai Meu, Choc Anon, Fralan, Nam Doc Mai, Okrung, Pim Seng Mun from Thailand
Fairchild, Julie from Jamaica
Graham, Ice Cream from Trinidad
Jakarta from Java and Singapore
Maha Chinook from Singapore
Irwin from Mexico, Ecuador and Peru
Keitt, Manilita from Mexico
Kensington from Australia
Lancetilla from Honduras
Madame Francis from Haiti
It’s war! Tell us about your favourite mango. Share your adventures and escapades about this luscious fruit on firstname.lastname@example.org or at facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch
From HT Brunch, May 27
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch