Alphonso mangoes in New Jersey

Yesterday, on our drive back from Philadelphia, Chris had us stop in Edison, New Jersey, to have dosas and poori for lunch, as well as to make a pit stop to get some Indian groceries at Patel Brothers. While Chris tends to focus on his Indian snacks like banana chips and mixture on these runs, I always end up getting the household staples, like fruit, vegetables, freshly baked roti or thepla from the Patel Brothers bakery (the Jackson Heights location has no bakery due to space constraints; it’s not fair!!), beans, frozen goods, etc. As we are currently in mango season, we picked up a box of Mexican Ataulfo mangoes… and Chris pointed at a sign that said, “Indian mangoes: See cashier.”

Eager with anticipation and hope, I asked a cashier about these, and she pointed me to the back of the register, where there were two stacked areas of boxes of Indian mangoes: one pile was for boxes of Alphonso mangoes, also considered the “king of mangoes” in India; the second stack was boxes of kesar mangoes, which we had one of during 2020 when an Indian shop owner gave it as a gift. One box of 11 Alphonso mangoes were $55, while the box of about 6-7 kesar mangoes were $45. The kesar mangoes were about double if not triple the size of the Alphonso mangoes. I really wanted to get both, but given we knew the Ataulfo mangoes would definitely be good, we just got one box each of the Ataulfo and Alphonso mangoes. Fifty-five dollars for 11 Indian Alphonso mangoes shipped on an Air India flight from India to the U.S.: this was by far, the most expensive purchase we’d ever made at Patel Brothers, or any Indian grocery store, for that matter.

I was so excited to bring these home and try them. The Alphonso mangoes were all still green and quite hard when we bought them, but today, they are already starting to get a little softer, and parts of them are turning yellow in color. I can’t wait to have these again. I know we ate Alphonso mangoes while in India the summer of 2018, but I cannot quite remember the flavor or scent at all. I just knew that they were complex and intensely delicious. We can’t go to India now and have their mangoes locally, so this is the best we can do for now. $5 per mango is a small price to pay for this level of deliciousness.

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