The Champagne Mango
Twenty-six years ago when I moved to Florida, I tasted my first mango and although the sweet, juicy taste was sensational, the peeling of the skin, the huge pit, and the stringy texture required patience (which I don’t have a lot of) and quite a bit of effort for a relatively small amount of fruit. Why couldn’t mangos be like oranges whose skin is easy to cut off? Or, apples with little pits and lots of fruit?
Prepackaged mango slices are often available in grocery stores but more often than not, the slices are too hard or have a preservative chemical added that gives the fruit a bitter aftertaste, or the slices are sold in a jar with syrup and taste more like the canned peaches I ate as a child. Consequently, mangos were not a big part of our diet until I tasted the Champagne Mango.
The Champagne Mango is also called the Ataulfo Mango – a special variety of the mango known for its incredibly sweet taste, smooth texture, and thin pit. Smaller than a typical mango, the kidney-shaped Champagne Mango weighs about 8 ounces although the Ataulfo Mango can weigh as little as 5 ounces and as much a pound, depending on the grower and when the fruit was picked. Grown throughout the world in tropical climates, the Champagne Mangos sold in the US are primarily from Mexico and Central America.
The Champagne Mango grows on a tree and is green when picked but gradually turns a deep golden-yellow color as the fruit ripens. When the fruit feels slightly soft with a gentle squeeze or when the skin just starts to wrinkle, the Champagne Mango is ready to eat. Simply cut or peel the skin off and slice chunks of fruit off the pit. Each mango yields a surprising amount of fruit because the pit is so much smaller than a regular mango pit.
The season for Champagne Mangos is from March to late July – a short time – but hopefully this will change as more people discover the fruit and growers respond. At $1 to $2 each, the Champagne Mango is reasonably priced and available at a wide variety of grocery stores throughout the country.
During the season, I buy 20 at a time (my daughter has accused me of hoarding behavior) and often, a case because my whole family loves them. In the morning, I slice 2 or 3 and mix the chunks with bananas, blueberries, strawberries and whatever other fruit I have available for breakfast. And, for dinner I often cut the mango into small pieces and toss with baby spinach, toasted pecans, red onion, and dried cranberries for a variation on the classic spinach salad. And, Champagne Mangos are a delicious treat dehydrated, for those with a food dehydrator.
Delicious at room temperature or chilled, the Champagne Mango is high in Vitamin C and A and has no fat. But, the flavor is what will impress and cause you to scour grocery stores for more because once you try a Champagne Mango, you can’t help but want more. My daughter calls Champagne Mangos the “turkish delight” of fruit; I call them the Dom Perignon of mangos.
For more information on the Champagne Mango, go to the official website: www.champagnemango.com