As the price of the famous Alphonso mango hits the roof,city restaurants try to cope with the new challenge
Delhis obsession with mangoes is a ripe one. Every year,mango lovers wait for the arrival of Alphonso mangoes from the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg belt of Maharashtra. This year,however,the availability of Alphonsos has dipped drastically and fans of the fruit feel cheated. We have been drastically hit by the low supply of mangoes to our hotel this year. In the markets,the price of Alphonso mangoes is completely out of order, says Anirudh Khanna,executive chef,The Park hotel. Consequently,The Park is not experimenting much with Alphonso mangoes.
Unseasonal rains in western India last October and a prolonged cold spell over the winter have resulted in an 80 per cent decline in the mango supply. Even in Mumbai,the reduced supply has resulted in sky-rocketing prices. This years first Alphonso mango fetched a record Rs 600 per fruit at Crawford Market in Mumbai.
Though the supply of Alphonso mangoes at The Park has gone done this season five kg daily as compared to 10-15 kg daily in the past years,Khanna has not hiked the prices of Alphonso-based items on the menu. If we are charging Rs 200 per piece for mango mousse cake,we cannot justify a hike of 10 per cent even if the mango yields are low, adds Khanna,who pays Rs 280 per kg for Alphonsos this year as compared to 150 per kg last summer.
Shangri-La Hotel on Ashoka Road,however,is holding a two-month-long mango festival largely featuring Alphonsos. This festival is an annual feature,but it was tough to hold it this year. Our Alphonso suppliers hiked their rates,so we have had to increase prices of Alphonso dishes by about 10-15 per cent, says Ravi Kumar,executive sous chef. The Imperial at Janpath,too,is planning a two-week-long mango festival,called Summer Collection at its Spice Route restaurant from May 15 but the menu will feature locally available varieties along with the Alphonso. We have items like summer salads and mangoes with stir-fried chicken, says a hotel spokesperson.
A few hotels like the InterContinental,Eros,have fixed contracts with suppliers. Our suppliers have ensured that we get a daily supply of 27-30 kg of Alphonso to tide over our needs, says Manoj Rawat,executive sous-chef. The hotel is offering a range of items using Alphonso like mango cakes and mango-based salads.
Although the Alphonso has been pricey till now,we can still hope to dig into the fruit without damaging our bank balance. Farmers say that more fruit will arrive in a few weeks,bringing down the rates. The temperature is now stable and the ripening process is going on well in the Konkan region, says a farmer from the area.
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