The King of fruits captures Auckland

Indian mangoes, which are among the best in the world, were not allowed in New Zealand until recently due to the stringent import standards of Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT), as reported in Indian Newslink, August 15, 2007.

Before the arrival of Indian mangoes in their fruit form, consumers in New Zealand could get only canned mango pulp. But now, several local Indian grocery stores, superettes and supermarkets sell boxes of mangoes from India.

A number of retailers have told us that prior to the commencement of the mango season every year, customers call them to reserve a few boxes. Indian mangoes have become extremely popular with people from as far as Hamilton and Pukekohe visiting these retailers to purchase the available favourites.

Best of the Best

There are approximately 1500 varieties of mangoes grown in India but only a few of them, such as Alphonso, Banganpalli, Chausa, Dussehri, Kesar, Neelam, Langra and Rajapuri are imported into New Zealand.

Alphonso mangoes would be available until the end of June. India experiences 100 days of madness when mangoes become a national obsession like Cricket. It is customary to send boxes of mangoes to relatives, superiors and friends as a mark of love and respect.

Alphonso has a voluptuous shape and sunshine. Its yellow skin uncovers juicy saffron-colored flesh that is soft and buttery; just visualise a cross between peach, nectarine, apricot and melon with pinch of honey and citrus.

For an unbiased opinion, I took an Alphonso to a Kiwi friend, who is also a chef.

“Oh my God, that’s really yummy! This has really different flavor than other mangoes I have had. It is really sweet, like a caramelised sweetness and has great after taste that lingers for hours. Wow, can you tell me where I can buy these now? “

Medicinal qualities

The King of Fruits is one of the most nutritious and aromatic fruits in the world, chocked with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It has Vitamin A (beta-carotene), Vitamin E and Selenium, which can help to guard against heart diseases and other illnesses such as colon and cervical cancer.

You can obtain 40% of your daily fibre intake from a mango. The phenolic compound found in mangoes has powerful antioxidant and anticancer properties.

This fruit has captured the attention of famous chefs across the globe and you will find it on the dessert and cocktail menus of an increasing number of restaurants and bars. Mangoes are used in cheesecakes, sweet salsas, truffles, and smoothies and of course in traditional Amaras, Lassa, Kuldip and Chandan.

Due to the limited shelf life and difficulties in transportation across seas, Indian mangoes have not entered our supermarkets on a large scale. However, we are hoping to change that with continuous support of our exporter in India and the New Zealand Government.

Premium price

Mango is just another fruit outside India and price range is also higher as compared to other varieties available in the local market. However, the diehard mango lovers would be happy to pay premium price for their beloved fruit.

Indian mangoes are steadily gaining popularity into the New Zealand market and we hope more stores and supermarkets would have this long awaited fruit.

Some facts

The mango is a versatile fruit. Its bark, pit and skin are used in traditional Indian medicine. The fruit is known to work as an anti-viral, antiseptic, expectorant, contraceptive and anti-asthmatic and even laxative.

The unripe tart fruit is used for making chutneys, and pinna, a drink to beat the summer heat, pickle to tickle a meal. The ripe fruit can be added to soufflés and curries. The fruit pulp can be used in making juices, nectars, jams and squashes.

It is also called fruit of love in India for its aphrodisiac qualities.

Traditional value

Mango leaves are part of the Indian tradition. It has a place of significance at weddings and religious ceremonies. The leaves are also hung on front doors of homes as a mark of good luck.

The fruits lineage goes back to the Indian myths and folklore with tales of how emperors drooled over its sweet juices while poets penned reams of odes to it.

Indian mangoes are exported to many countries including Bangladesh, Britain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates US and not New Zealand.

Vinayak Shetkar is Director of Salient Enterprises Limited based in Highland Park Auckland. For further details and trade inquiries please email salient@live.com

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