Mumbais obsession with mangoes is a ripe one. Every year,mango-lovers wait for the Alphonso mangoes from Ratnagiri. But,the number of mangoes that made it to the city in the beginning of this season has dipped drastically compared to the last couple of years,thereby affecting the common man and restaurants in the city. As summer is progressing,rates remain high and steady,unlike last year, says Suresh Thampy,executive chef,Courtyard by Marriott,Mumbai International Airport,who hasnt increased the prices on the menu. The demand for the fruit hasnt gone down and so we do not want our customers to suffer, he says.
The 80 per cent decline in the mango supply is due to the unseasonal rains in western India last October and a prolonged cold snap over the winter. This years first Alphonso mango reportedly fetched a record Rs 600 per fruit,almost 50 per cent more than last years opening price. The first four boxes of this mango were sold for Rs 7,000 a dozen at the Crawford Market in January. Its the beginning of May and the best quality Alphonsos are still priced at Rs 2,500 a dozen,while the cheapest variety is priced at Rs 700. Every week a very limited produce is being brought to Mumbai. With this produce,one cannot really reduce the price. It is almost the end of April and the price hasnt gone down, says Jatin Kumar,a vendor at Andheri market. The Alphonsos that grow in the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg belt are used to make products like aamras and aam shrikhand,which are popular in Mumbai households.
Courtyard by Mariott,Rajdhani and Soul,a brand that sells mango products also get their Alphonso stock from the Ratnagiri area. Owing to the shortfall,Courtyard and Soul have opted for other varities of mangoes which are available at a lower cost. The low supply of mangoes from Ratnagiri has made us look at open markets in Vizag. We are purchasing Totapuri,Malda and Rajapuri mangoes from there, says Bimal Thakkar,MD,ADF Foods Ltd,who has launched an interesting range of mango products for summer like Mango pickle in Olive Oil.
Experts,however,believe that more mangoes will arrive in the city in a few weeks,bringing down rates. The temperature is now stable and the ripening process is going on well in the Konkan region, says a farmer from the area.
Rajdhani restaurant,however,remains bullish owing to the rate and supply contract they have with mango vendors in Ratnagiri. These vendors ensure that we get the required volume of Alphonso,despite the low supply this year. We havent faced any issues in the pricing or unavailability, says Hemaram Choudhary,Corporate Maharaj,Rajdhani.
For most other restaurants,including Trident and Oberoi Hotels,Nariman Point,purchasing mangoes wholesale has been a norm. There may be a shortage but we are yet to hear from the supplier, says the hotel spokesperson. Incidentally,Oberoi which has a mango festival almost every year,has called it off this time. Everyone will be doing a mango festival and we want to be different. We will just serve mangoes with icecream, he says. An insider,however,reveals that when you are serving just cut mangoes,the wastage is minimal. You offer it only when the customer asks. In case of a mango cheesecake,it can be wasted if not consumed.
The Renaissance Hotel has a unique solution to the menace. We grow mangoes at our own Renaissance garden. The shortfall doesnt affect us, says Parimal Sawant,senior sous chef,Renaissance Hotel,Powai.
A list of unusual mango delicacies available at the citys eateries:
Courtyard by Mariott – Chunky Mango Avocado Tartar
Rajdhani – Keri samosa,Aam ki Lunji,Mango Dal Dhokli
Renaissance – Baked Mango Yogurt,Ambyachi Karanji and Mango Chilli Pomfret
Cafe Verandah – Mango Ginger Mocktail,Mango-based Rum
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines