As the month of March gives way to the month ofÂ April, people who live in countries which have long hard winters usually look forward to the advent of the season of spring with much eagerness. However in India, it is not the change of season that excites the populace during this period, for the Indian subcontinent located as it is in the tropics doesnâ€™t really experience the drastic change in seasons as do other countries. All over India and especially in the countryâ€™s financial capital of Mumbai, people eagerly look forward to the end of the month of March as it heralds in the Indian mango season which usually extends until the end of May and early June.
Indians are extremely fond of the this juicy and heavenly fruit which appears only for three months of the year ,when the many mango trees whose long and narrow shiny leaves are otherwise used as accouterments in IndianÂ religious ceremonies get heavy with their precious bounty. India is the worldâ€™s largest producer of mangoes and it produces many varieties of this soft and juicy delight which is absolutely adored by much of its population.
Types of Indian Mangoes
VariousÂ varieties ofÂ mangoes like Alphonso, Bangalora, Banganpalli, Payri,, Bombay Green, Dashehari, Malgoba, Badami, Kesar, Totapuri, Langra, Rajapuri, Lal Baug , Neelum, Chausa, grow all over in India in states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
However the mango which is largely regarded to be the favorite of many Indians especially the citizens of Mumbai is the famous Alphonso mango which grows in abundance in the district of Ratnagiri which is located near the city of Mumbai in the state of Maharashta. The Alphonso mango which is colloquially known as â€˜appoosâ€™ begins to make an appearance at Mumbaiâ€™s famous Gothic fruit and vegetable market, the Crawford Market during the last few days of March and from this market it makes its way to various selling points all over the city.
The King of Fruits- The Alphonso Mango
The Alponso mango like its other siblings is not tree ripened but is harvested when its skin is still green and delivered to market. At the market these mangoes are usually packed in wooden boxes which are lined with hay that helps these mangoes to ripen. When the skins of these beauties achieve a golden hue they are considered to be perfect for consumption. Depending on individual preference however people choose to buy both ripe and unripe mangoes. The green unripe mangoes are perfect for making pickles but theÂ Alphonso mango which is known for its juicy pulp and overpowering aroma is not usually used to make pickles but is enthusiastically devoured in various forms by its legion of fans.
The luscious pulp of this King of Fruits is also used to make variousÂ deserts like the â€˜Aamrasâ€™ which is a thick custard-like desert made with Alphonso mango pulp, milk and sugar. Aamras is usually eaten with fried dough pancakes called â€˜poorisâ€™. A restaurant called Rajdhani which isÂ located nearÂ Crawford market in Mumbai is renowned for its heavenly â€˜Aaamrasâ€™ and during mango season the restaurant is usually packed with hordes of people who relish tucking into this seasonally delicacy.
Many other restaurants in the city ofÂ Mumbai also celebrate this mango madness with their own versions of mango based deserts like mango cream (chopped mangoes and fresh cream) and fresh mango cheese cake. Mangoes are even used to inÂ drinks like Mango Martinis and the refreshing Indian mango and yougurt smoothie called Mango Lassi. In fact even the pulp of the green mango is combined with spices like cumin, chili and fresh mint to make a cooling drink known as Aam Panna which is an ideal antidote to the hot and sultry humid weather that prevails over Mumbai and the rest of India during the months of Mango madness.
This mango frenzy is not only confined to the Indian subcontinent as a lot of the Indian mango crop is also exported the world over to various countries from the mango headquarters located at Mumbaiâ€™s Crawford Market to the delight ofÂ mango lovers everywhere. Located at Crawford Market are many Mango export firms like the famous Dhoble and sons who in conjunction with the logistics firm DHL are able to ship these mangoes to various parts of the world.
For many years since the mid- 1980â€™s, the powers to be in the USA had banned the import of Indian mangoes for the fear of fruit fliesÂ and Indian mango lovers based in the US were deprived of their favorite fruitÂ . Luckily for these US based Indian mango enthusiasts, all this changed in 2006 when President Bush initiated the Mango diplomacy with India while working out the modalities of a nuclear deal and now mango lovers in the US can also enjoy theseÂ succulent and deliciousÂ mangoes just like the mango fans located elsewhere.
However the best way for you to experience this mango madness first hand is to make a trip to the bustling metropolis of Mumbai during the mango season so that you can enjoy the gorgeous Indian mangoes especially the Alphonsos in all their glory. If this post has already convinced you to start packing your bags then perhaps you may also want to check out the various accommodation options that are availableÂ to you in the teeming metropolis that is Mumbai. Depending your budget you can choose stay at the five stars rated Intercontinental Hotel Marine Drive or the four star arted Ambassador Hotel or even the three star rated Godwin Hotel, all of which are convenientlyÂ located within close proximity of the mango headquarters at the cityâ€™s legendary Crawford Market.