During its brief season the Alphonso mango becomes something of a national obsession in India
As anyone who’s tasted an Alphonso mango knows, its short season, from now until the end of June, is a major cause for celebration. Often making an appearance on “1,000 things to eat before you die”-type lists, this Indian variety has become more and more popular in the UK.
It’s easy to see why. Alphonso’s voluptuous shape and sunshine-yellow skin reveals succulent saffron-coloured flesh that’s smooth and buttery: imagine a cross between peach, nectarine, apricot and melon with notes of honey and citrus. But better.
Alphonso has captured the imagination of chefs like Richard Corrigan, Yotam Ottolenghi, Vivek Singh and Peter Gordon. You’ll find it on the dessert and cocktail menus of an increasing number of restaurants and bars around the country. London’s Cinnamon Club make mango and cardamom crème brulee. The Milsom group in Suffolk and Essex favour panna cotta, cheesecake and sweet salsas. Chef Dev Biswal of The Ambrette in Rye and Margate slices them thin, “almost the thickness of a carpaccio” and serves them with ice cream made from the pulp. Chocolatier Paul A Young has been selling limited edition “Alphonso mango and Bloomsbury prairie fire chilli” truffles and this year’s MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo, who became renowned for her love of mangoes, always uses Alphonsos.