South Florida... A Mango Lover's Paradise: A Miami Mango Guide
There are two types of people in the world, there are mango lovers and there are mango haters. That’s pretty much the way most mango lovers feel about that! Haven’t you ever noticed how people react when you bring up mango. Positive or negative, the reaction is usually pretty strong. Either they love them, or they absolutely hate them. There is no in between when it comes to mangoes.
Now we can't speak for the mango haters (in fact, we can’t even imagine where we would start!), but mango lovers are a special breed. Aside from all the obvious mango references, sexual or otherwise, the mango mystique is legendary, and mostly for its medicinal purposes that some might call an aphrodisiac. The aphrodisiac part might be stretching it a little, although the experience of having of a good mango can be totally sinful. So yes, we love mangoes!
There are more variations of the mango than any other fruit we can imagine, and they come from all over the world. There are Chinese mangoes, Hawaiian, Cuban… there are even Bangalore mangoes from India, just to give you an idea. In no way is this an all-inclusive list. But sufficed to say that there is no fruit that during its season is so coveted, sought-after, or as highly paid-for by its followers. A good mango is not cheap! We are talking about the type of mangoes that don’t make it to Publix.
What you need to know when selecting a mango is this. There are regular, or water-based mangoes, and there are the turpentine-based kind. The tourpentine-based mangoes are exotic, high-end mangoes that are grown by small boutique farms. These boutique mangoes are sold-out even before they are picked. They don’t even make it to the market. They go by names like Kents, Keats and Hadens… Hadens are the most consistent, Keats are very extreme in iodine content, but in our opinion, nothing beats a great South Florida-grown, solid gold butter Kent on a good year! The thing shines.
The world capital of these high-end boutique mangoes is Florida… believe it or not. South Florida, and South Dade in particular, seem to be the ideal environment for these sub-tropical delights. The thing is you have to know where to get them. Most of what you buy on the street is not what we are talking about. A couple of good places down here are Athen’s Juice Bar in Miami Beach (brothers Johnny and George always have the goods), and Robert Is Here, in Homestead , is also very reliable. Take your pick.
Before you on a search for mangos, remember there is the 20th Annual International Mango Festival taking place this weekend at Fairchild Tropical Gardens. It’s is truly a mango lovers paradise. As if the lush tropical gardens at Fairchild weren’t exotic enough… talk about low-hanging mangoes!