The mango has arrived. The trees are laden with every possible variety. Yes we Goan’s are proud of this fruit, even stating that there are One hundred and six varieties that existed or still exist in Goa.
Did the Portuguese bring in the fruit to our shores? Yes we are aware that there was one named after Afonso de Albuqerque who helped establish the Portuguese colonies in Goa. But then there are the Colaço, Malcorada, Oliveira and even a Xavier to name a few…there is a definite twist to this tale.
Where does this story begin? This is one version. Apparently this fruit was native to India way before the Portuguese arrived. There is mention of the same way back during the vedic period. So here is the story of the Portuguese and the mango. A clever friar proficient in the method of grafting created the different varieties. And as the Portuguese travelled back and forth between their colonies they took the saplings with them. Now there is definite evidence that it reached Brazil. In fact it was that perfect fruit which was eventually called the Alfonso..or the Alphonso as it is known today.
Did that mango flourish in the East? No recorded evidence, although the Portuguese did have their colonies there. Today however inspired preparations bring the mango to the fore. Alwyn Mascarenhas proprietor of the Wok and Roll an oriental restaurant brings out the Mango Som Tom …an adaptation of the famous papaya salad. ‘I never did like papaya,’ he confesses sheepishly, ‘and so here is the preparation in its’ new avatar.’ Well one might not get to taste this preparation throughout the year. The firm mango strips need to get the fruit off the tree.
But remember in Goa it’s always the spirits that take center stage so you will not be disappointed. Throughout the year sip on the frozen mango mixes. They look good enough to ‘spin’ you through your holiday.
A gentle belch of contentment,,,then wok…twist…and Roll….you can even get one ‘mango mania hangover’ named after you.