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That time of year: Alphonso mangos?

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  • moh Apr 25, 2008 08:29 PM
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Wondering if anyone has seen these in Montreal yet...

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  1. Not yet, but I think it's still a few weeks early for alphonso mango season.

    6 Replies
    1. re: cherylmtl

      The reason i asked is because there are reports on other boards of people buying and eating Alphonsos! Don't want to miss them this year!

      1. re: moh

        I'm pretty partial to Ataulfo and Cuban mangoes but what are these Alphonso babies like?

        1. re: Campofiorin

          Campofiorin. I have no idea, as I have not had an Alphonso before. I have been loving the Ataulfo mangoes this year. But when I have asked others about the Alphonso, they have said that they are even better than Ataulfo mangoes, so now I've gotta try them!

          There have been posts on other regional boards about them, and I believe there have been posts extolling their deliciousness on General Chowhounding Topics. People seem to go a little crazy about them.

          They are definitely available in other cites now. But Cherylmtl spoke to one of the fruit vendors here in Montreal who usually gets them in. The Alphonsos now are unripe and ridiculously expensive. The real heart of the season starts probably in May, so we should see them in Montreal soon. There is a bunch of us keeping our eyes peeled, so soon....

          (sorry. Bit of a fruit obsession...)

          1. re: moh

            Please share with the rest of us fruitoholics when they become available, and where they have been spotted. Must have Alphonso mango.

            1. re: maisonbistro

              They usually start showing up mid-May. I'll keep everyone posted. And yes, they are the ultimate mango (IMHO). Ataulfo are close, but a good Alphonso is deeper in flavour. Now I can't wait for them to show up, either... (they are, however, probably available slightly earlier in Toronto, if anyone's heading there over the next few weeks).

              1. re: cherylmtl

                I saw some A. named mangoes at JTM this weekend and picked 'em up 3/$5. I'm hardly a mango fanatic, and was curious as to what all the hype about these mangoes in particular was. I've eaten one of the three so far and thought it was pretty tasty. Just now I realized that I'd bought Ataulfo - not the same thing. Thought they were Alphonso, but I'd made a mistake in my brain. Oh well! Good mangoes nonetheless.

    2. Mid-May... I can hardly wait. I foresee making Mango-Passionfruit jam in my future.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JadeMyst

        This will seem counterintuitive, but our experience with alphonso mangoes is that they don't make the best chutney. They are too good, too subtle. Lesser mangoes do as well or better. It might be the same with jam, especially if you're mixing with another fruit.

        1. re: Steve S

          It depends what else you're adding to the chutney. I find I usually use one or two from each case I buy to make some sort of fresh chutney to serve with grilled meat or fish - but ideally only a chutney that will sit for a few hours for its flavours to develop, not one that will be kept for any longer - while other mangoes will probably work as well, I find there's nothing like a chutney made with alphonsos...I also use a few for ice cream (and try to abstain from eating the rest in one sitting...)

          1. re: Steve S

            I usually used an under-ripe mango for chutney so if you try using alphonsos for chutney you may want to use the least ripe ones.

        2. Good luck getting your hands on them if you are not from the East Indian community. These mangoes are coveted, closely guarded and rarely have they been exposed to anyone outside the community.

          For years I have been trying to track these suckers down, but like trying to ask anyone in Cairo when the you can catch the next bus, no one will ever tell you exactly when or where to find them.

          Good luck.

          7 Replies
          1. re: fedelst1

            The last time I checked, I wasn't even remotely East Indian, and I've been buying them here since 1993 (after I discovered them in India). There aren't many places that carry them here, unlike Toronto, but I've never had a problem buying them, when in season.

            1. re: cherylmtl

              Clearly, you have found a reliable source that must have a good supply, and has sufficient quantities available to supply the public, after filling regular clients orders.

              Would you be willing to share your source?

              1. re: fedelst1

                I've posted it to this forum before - Apna Bazaar, out in the West Island. They receive shipments, usually twice weekly in mango season, but it's best to call before heading out there to see if they have them in. There may well be other vendors that carry them here, but that's the store I usually frequent.

                1. re: cherylmtl

                  The earlier discussion with a few other addresses: www.chowhound.com/topics/406999

                  1. re: carswell

                    Thanks for finding that link, carswell. I knew it was here somewhere...

                    One caveat is that I think most places only sell them by the case, so if you just want one or two you may be out of luck. (although how anyone could only want one or two is beyond me, aside from their cost...)

                    1. re: cherylmtl

                      When I got mine last Alphonso season at Apna Bazaar, he didn't have these prized mangoes up front. He had them hidden in the back, which he only showed me after I inquired.

                      1. re: BLM

                        Sorry what I got at Apna Bazaar were Kessar mangoes from India(Alphonso was available later in the season). As an alternative the mangoes from Pakistan are also very good

          2. I just picked up a crate of alphonso mangos on Friday May 23d. They've been available since May 15th. The mangos are on the small side and similar in size & look of the ones from Dominica or Santo Domincan Republic. They were very luscious in texture without the fiber of the usual mangos you get here with a very floral taste.

            I bought mine at MarcheVictoria which is just north of Van Horne on the west side of Victoria. When I went in on Wednesday, they told me to come back on Thursday at 10 am when the story opened as they didn't have much left by the afternoon. There weren't any on Thursday when I went but there were on Friday.

            You'll have to take your chances to go in and see if there're in or not or try phoning ahead.

            8 Replies
            1. re: JadeMyst

              So you were also there at Marche Victoria? To my knowledge only Marche Victoria have had the Indian mangoes so far. Apna Bazaar in the West Island, still has none available.

              1. re: BLM

                Another friend told me she bought Alphonsos at Jean Talon market this week at Chez Louis but then found further down the walkway another shop selling them at $1 each. She said a case at Chez Louis was $18 or in smaller amounts at 3 for $5. I bought mine at Marche Victoria where the price was much cheaper. I also bout some Haitian green kidney-shaped mangos there on a previous trip that I enjoyed very much.

                1. re: JadeMyst

                  I don't think those were Alphonsos at Jean Talon, they were Atualfas - I saw them there myself. While they look similar, they are not the same thing.

              2. re: JadeMyst

                How many did you get and for how much?

                1. re: JadeMyst

                  JadeMyst - You rock!

                  I went in today (Thursday) and got my grubby little hands on 2 boxes of Alphonso mangos. They are going for about $15 per box (12 mangos per box). They don't even put them out, they just have the boxes in the back. They get them in once a week on Thursdays at Marche Victoria Orientale, but they recommend you call to make sure they got the shipment. They usually sell out within a day or so. They have colourful signs announcing the availability of these mangos, so if you see the sign, you know you are in the right place.

                  I have not yet had a mango, but I am excited! None of the mangos were ready to eat today, but a few were close. The smell that is emanating from the mango boxes is bewitching! Very floral and fruity, with a strong sweet mango scent. And this is from just a couple of almost ripe mangos! It is almost like a giant mango flower is blooming in the kitchen! I have never had mangos this aromatic in Montreal before. I am eagerly awaiting perfect ripeness... I think one will be ready for tomorrow morning's breakfast. That is, if I can resist ripping into it tonight during my insomnia.

                  I have to say, that is a great market! I found some very cool vegetables there that I had never seem before, and got some good tips on how to cook them. Here is my recent post, with photos of the vegetables and the final dishes.


                  1. re: moh

                    Thx Moh for that "You rock". An Indian friend from work at the Jewish told me about Marche Victoria. She & another Mumbai lady from work told me the Kassar (sp?) mangos should be available now or very soon as well. The kassars are also an Indian mango but less sweet than the Alphonsos.

                    I saw the Domincan mangos also at Marche Victoria so I intend to return to try both very soon.

                    1. re: moh

                      What time did you go? I went at 3:30 pm and they were sold out.

                      1. re: hungryann

                        We were there around 11:30 or 12:00 noon, so pretty early.

                  2. So I have to say, the Alphonso mango is definitely one of the best mangos I have ever had. It is indeed even better than the lovely Ataulfo mangos I have been snacking on this season.

                    Our first Alphonso had a rotten core, but we were able to salvage some of the outer pieces. The second mango was pristine. The scent is intoxicating and powerful. The flesh is a rich bright orange, a very warm colour. The flesh is smooth and creamy, similar to the Ataulfo flesh. But the flavour is richer, denser, floral and sweet. As hubbie put it, "it is like mango candy".

                    If you are a mango lover, this is the real deal. It is going to be very hard to go back to the regular mangos. Run out and buy some!!!

                    24 Replies
                    1. re: moh

                      I got a box of The Kesars and alphonsos on Friday the 23rd at about ~11:00 it seems that this is when the truck arrives. Although they state Thursday, the past 2 weeks the shipment only came in on Friday.

                      If you do go, don't expect to run in and out with a case. Service is slow, and they open each case in front of hte client. The line can be over 30 minutes.

                      There were a few Alphonsos sitting for individual sale near the cash today, but I suspect they are gone by now. They do have some Indian Pomegranates in stock. I have yet to try them.

                      1. re: fedelst1

                        Make that the past 3 weeks on Friday(Alphonso first became available at Marche Victoria on May 16th, not May 15th as JadeMyst stated). I got my Alphonso on first day(I probably waited more than 30 minutes in line, & they're two cashes at the establishment). I finally got my Kesars yesterday(I tried to get my Kesars the week before, but it was sold out when I arrived).

                        1. re: fedelst1

                          Very odd, as I previously wrote, I went Thursday at3:30 pm and they were sold out. They told me they would not have any until next Thursday (the5th). Why would they not mention that they had more coming in on Friday (yesterday)? I am slightly peeved.

                          1. re: hungryann

                            For the alphonso mangoes, you might want to try Apna Bazaar. When I spoke with them over a week ago, they told me, they would have them by this weekend.

                            1. re: BLM

                              I spoke with Apna Bazaar on Monday and he told me that he was very reluctant to bring them because they would be quite pricey this year given the cost of fuel and he didn't think people were going to be keen on buying them at 20-25$ a dozen. I will keep pestering MVO; hopefully, I will get them this week. I saw the Kesars while I was there (at $17 a dozen, which was weird since the Alphonsos are more prized and most places had them the same price last year) but they were very unripe/green. Did they take a long time to ripen? Did you try them yet? How do they compare to the Alphonsos?

                              1. re: hungryann

                                I spoke to Apna yesterday, and they will hopefully be in this week. He always sells them out very quickly once they arrive, and they're usually over $20/case, so I don't see why he'd be overly worried about selling them this year. I guess if enough of us keep calling to check about the Alphonsos, he will ensure that he brings them in! And Apna brings them in perfectly ripe - never underrripe - you have to refrigerate whatever you don't consume within a day or two.

                                1. re: cherylmtl

                                  "He always sells them out very quickly once they arrive, and they're usually over $20/case, so I don't see why he'd be overly worried about selling them this year."
                                  I agree. I thought his excuse was a bit lame when I spoke to him. I felt like telling him that at MVO they go for $15 but I refrained myself.

                                2. re: hungryann

                                  The Kesar box I got, had 2-3 Kesars that were almost ripe. Tried 2 Saturday morning. My guess the other ones in the box, would be ripe in 3-4 days. IMO, the Kesars are just as good as the Alphonsos. Given to choosing only one kind, I would probably choose Kesars over Alphonsos, as the Alphonsos mangoes are so small(almost like mini-mangoes). However I checked the Alphonsos the second weekend that Marche Victoria had them, & those Alphonsos were noticeably bigger than mine, but still very small.

                                  1. re: BLM

                                    I think I will get them this week (kessars). They just looked too green this week and I thought they may not ripen properly.

                                    1. re: hungryann

                                      When I got my Kesars, there were still plenty boxes left, which allowed them to check several boxes, to find one with more ripe Kesars.

                                      1. re: hungryann

                                        The shipment of Alphonso mangoes came in to Marche Victoria this Friday morning. I got one box of Alphonso Friday night(there was still plenty of Alphonso boxes left around 8pm when I was there). These Alphonso are more than twice the size, the Alphonso I got on the first day available at Marche Victoria(May 16th). I didn't see any Kesar boxes today at Marche Victoria.

                                        1. re: BLM

                                          I was there Friday am and got 2 cases of Alfonso (yes they are bigger and riper than in previous weeks) and 1 case of Kesar. There were a lot of people from South Asia there and they wre buying more Kesars than Alfonsos.

                                          1. re: hungryann

                                            What's the latest on Apna Bazaar? Have they got them in yet(at least the Alphonso)? What price are they charging?

                                            1. re: BLM

                                              I didn't bother with them anymore since I got them at MVO and since they had suggested the price would be over $20 a case.

                                              1. re: BLM

                                                I spoke to them this morning, and they said they should have them on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. However, I was at Marche Victoria on Sources this afternoon, where they had many cases of lovely, perfectly ripe Alphonsos for $18/case, so I picked one up there. I would expect they will be between $20 and $25/case at Apna when they get them, as they usually are. I think I'll stick with Marche Victoria for now...

                                  2. re: hungryann

                                    My alphonsos came from a case that was purchased at Marché Victoria Oriental on Thursday late morning last week.

                                    1. re: carswell

                                      Thx carswell, I will stake out MVO Thursday morning. I will not be denied this week! BTW, I had called on Wednesday afternoon, to ask that they put aside a case for me but they told me they don't do that.

                                      1. re: hungryann

                                        Personally I would call Marche Victoria beforehand, to make sure they have it when you are there.

                                    2. re: hungryann

                                      I went at 11 am this morning and Marche Victoria looked a little low on Kesars, the case of 9 was $17. Theey still had what looked like about 80+ cases of alphonsos.

                                      Both mangos were not quite ripe yet. The cashier said I could eat my Kesars tomorrow, Friday but I think I may wait till Saturday. My Indian work-mates prefer the Kesars to the Alphonsos but they buy both since they seem to eat a lot of them over the week. The Kesars resembled the Haitian mangos abit, green with a slight yellow blush. I didn't check the price of the Alphonsos this week as I only bought the Kesars but when I last bought them at Marche Victoria, I paid 14.99 for a case of 12..

                                      1. re: JadeMyst

                                        Ah JadeMyst, let me count the ways you rock! I saw your post, and immediately sent out the minion to procure some more mangos. I had assumed (incorrectly) that they had switched their delivery day to Friday... The price has gone up to $16 for a box of Alphonsos.

                                        My Kesars from last week have finally ripened, and so I tried one today side by side with an Alphonso. The Alphonso has a rich mango taste with floral and coconut notes, the scent and flavour are quite intense and tropical and funky. The Kesar has a pure bright rich mango flavour, without the other scents. The Kesar is the most classical "mango" taste I have ever had. The textures of both mangos are comparable, smooth, creamy, free of excess fiber.

                                        Oh how will I go back to normal mango after this?

                                        Some potentially bad news. When we asked if they would still have mangos next week, they mentioned that there was bad weather in India and it was affecting the mango harvest. Let's hope this is not the case, but you should check before you go to pick up your mangos next week.

                                        1. re: moh

                                          I wonder why the price hike? Anyhoo, no biggie! I still have lots from last week. I agree with your description of the kesar, i had to eat them a little underripe though because they were bruised on some parts and spoiled at those spots while the rest of the mango was`n't as ripe. I hope they will be around next week...i was hoping to get 2 more boxes (one of each). I will keep my fingers crossed!

                                          1. re: hungryann

                                            hungryann, I had the same experience with a few of my alphonsos, a bit of early spoilage in some spots, the rest not yet ripe. I left one mango to ripen despite the spot of spoilage. By the time the rest of the mango was ripe, there was a big brown icky spot on the top, but I was able to salvage a fair amount of the mango, and enjoy it at a riper state.

                                            I'll also keep my fingers crossed. It is clear I will have to gorge on these mangos until I am sick of them, in order to make it to next year....

                                            1. re: moh

                                              There is so much you can do with these mangos, it would be difficult to get sick of them (IMHO). Right now, I have the mixture for mango sorbet chilling in my fridge, have already made mango milkshakes, eaten some as is, will make at least one salsa with mango, coriander, onion, and a bit of red pepper and lime juice (goes great with chicken or fish). And so many more things to do with them - you have no idea how much I really look forward to Alphonso mango season each year!

                                          2. re: moh

                                            Marche Victoria had a huge stack of crates today, and at $15. I'm pretty sure they're at their prime right now. Completely over the top, flavour-wise.
                                            If they only sold rum, we could have done all our Sunday shopping in one place...

                                  3. Finally got a chance to try them both (kessars and alphonso's) thanks to a very generous chowhounder. They are each a class of their own, not sure which one is "favorite" yet. I must say I was a little bit skeptical (how much better can you do after ataulfos?), so I never had the energy to get myself some; but I will definitely get more before the season runs out. Just need to figure out how to go to any of the sources listed, using public transport.

                                    The fragrance of these mangoes are intoxicating, almost too good to be true. If you didn't know that they are coming out from a real fruit, you'd assume that they were manufactured in a flavor lab. The taste is even better. One bite sends a current of electricity down your body. I am pretty sure these are the mangoes that George Costanza tasted in the "The Mango" episode.

                                    I just wish the Indian stores at Parc-ex also stocked them, but it is definitely worth taking a trek if you are not living close.

                                    1. Finally had an opportunity to pass by Marche Victoria Oriental. Unfortunately, no Alphonsos, was told season is over for this year. About 10 cases of Kessar at 19$ left. Will finally have a chance to try these and see what it's all about.

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: Venusia

                                        Venusia, when were you there?

                                        We passed by this morning at 11:30 (Thursday), and they had some boxes of Alphonsos. I believe it was a new shipment, as the line was long. No Kesars though. When I asked if they were done for the season, I was told they will try to get another shipment next week. So there is still a chance they will have some more, slim, but there.

                                        Make sure you wait until the Kesars are nice and ripe! They are a bit sour if you eat them too early.

                                        1. re: moh

                                          ??? We were there at 10:30 this morning! This doesn't make any sense, unless this 11:30 shipment was a surprise.

                                          Are the Kesars supposed to be yellow? Because the guy said ours were ripe, but they are still green. They do have a soft give though. Should I wait until they wrinkle a bit?

                                          1. re: Venusia

                                            Is it possible there are two very similarly-named grocers?

                                            1. re: Venusia

                                              Wow, I don't understand this at all Venusia. Hubbie called at 10:45, and they said they had them. Then he was in at 11:30, picked up 2 boxes of Alphonsos. I went back at 12:30 to see if they had any Kesars, and they said they were out. Saw a few loose Alphonsos at that time...

                                              Re: Ripeness of Kesars. I ate one when it was greeny yellow, and it was very good. But it had a slight sourness that the really ripe ones don't have. Do they smell good? I've been going on a combination of smell and softness to determine when to eat them. My favorite stage is when my Kesars turned a light yellow, just before they get wrinkly, they are very fragrant then. But i is a fine line, as you will lose a few to rot (such a fine line!) Perhaps start with a few yellow-green ones for things like mango salsa, but definitely let a few go yellow. They are very decadent!

                                              1. re: moh

                                                Well okay, now I get it. I went to Marche Victoria Oriental on Sources in DDO, and there appears to be one Marche Victoria Oriental on Victoria avenue in Montreal. Is that where you went Moh? In fact, is that where everyone goes? I was impressed that so many would make the trek all the way to the West Island for these mangoes.

                                                My mangoes don't really smell at all, I'm going to wait.

                                                1. re: Venusia

                                                  «Is that where you went Moh? In fact, is that where everyone goes?»

                                                  Yep and yep. Had no idea MVO had a West Island branch.

                                                  1. re: carswell

                                                    I believe the West Island location is the same company, but the prices are different there - we stopped by to see if they had mangos a few weeks back when we were out there - but they're $18/case there vs. $15 at the other store (still worth every penny, though...)

                                                    1. re: carswell

                                                      The one on Sources has been there almost as long as the original place on Victoria (hence the name...), but the selection is a bit smaller.

                                                    2. re: Venusia

                                                      Venusia, yes, I meant the MVO on Victoria. That does explain it.

                                                      But I would trek to the West Island for these mangos....

                                                      Yes, wait for them to smell like heaven! They turn yellow too... I leave them all together in the box on the counter, and only transfer them to the fridge once they are fully ripe.

                                                      1. re: moh

                                                        Okay, finally had a chance to try my Kesars! My husband sliced a couple up, we started digging in and immediately thought: Pina Colada! They taste very tropical and extremely sweet, and are also very juicy, with hardly any fibers.

                                                        My husband prefers the Kesars for their juiciness, sweetness and tropical taste, but I find them almost sirupy in their sweetness. But then, I'm not much of a juice drinker, I always dilute it with mineral water.

                                                        Can I be the lone dissenter and say that I prefer the Ataulfos? I prefer their firmer texture and less sweet taste and I love their creaminess.

                                                        1. re: Venusia

                                                          Venusia, it is possible you might prefer the Kesars in a firmer, less ripe state. I could definitely see how you might prefer a less sweet mango, the ripe kesars and alphonsos are very intense flavours, and as you say sirupy. This is why we need fruit diversity! More options more good for all.

                                            2. 5 more months till next alphonso mango season--- late may I can hardly wait

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: JadeMyst

                                                I am also counting the months...

                                                I purchased a can of Alphonso mangos at a grocery store on Jean-Talon in Parc-Ex. (photo attached). It was good, but it was not the same at the fresh Alphonso. Still, I enjoyed them with cottage cheese. They have a hint of the luxurious over-the-top mango flavour, and all of the creaminess, but they are a canned product, and so you lose that fresh, vibrant taste.

                                                1. re: moh

                                                  If you live in NDG, Akhavan's also sells the canned alfonso mango. I recently made some mango-passionfruit jam using fresh atafulo mango and a can of the alfonso with the frozen passionfruit pulp also available at Akhavan's.