I wasn’t born a Queenslander, but I spent most of my childhood there and remember fondly the mango trees in my Nan’s backyard in Coorparoo. The house has gone now, as of course are the trees, but as kids my brother and I spent many happy summer days in the branches, gorging ourselves on small, insanely fragrant, stringy mangoes. Mangoes that were “free-range”, had large pips and I have no idea what breed or “brand” they were. And gosh they were delicious.
Of course this has left me quite picky about my mangoes, and being asked to pay $5 each for them makes me even more picky. I’m a Bowen mango girl mostly these days; but I won’t touch the Northern Territory grown mangoes at the beginning of the season deeming them to be grown too quickly to have the real mango flavour I’m looking for.
I’m talking about that slightly keronsene-y, cloyingly sweet flavour that repeats on you for hours. That’s what a mango is all about, and juice dripping down your chin. The Bowen, or the Kensington Pride was what we bought in Queensland when we wanted something a bit “special” for a posher occasion when we weren’t sitting in a tree or a bath tub scraping stringy mangoes through our teeth. They are more refined, have larger ‘cheeks’ but still with that fabulous flavour.
So I start looking in January for a few mangoes but the good old tree-ripened Bowen mango is getting harder and harder to get. Oh yes – the breeders have been at it … not content with a sporadic, but delicious Bowen they have taken to crossing them with other fruit.
Today I tried a Calypso™ mango for the first time. This is apparently the B74 variety, a cross between a Kensington Pride and a Sensation. It’s billed as having “more fruit, less seed”, firmer and fibre-free flesh and more consistent quality. Well I sure am glad they aren’t billing it as having better flavour, becuase it doesn’t. In fact is has barely any flavour at all. Or juice. And ‘firmer flesh’ I suspect is code for ‘easier to transport without bruising’, although they claim it makes it better for BBQ-ing.
So OK – if you want to BBQ a mango (though I have no idea why you’d want to do that) go ahead and try these. But if you want a real kick of mango flavour, I suggest you try something else.
You can read more about different mango varieties here.