10 questions with... the King and Queen of the mango world

A variety we all know and love versus one we might not know so well. Let’s meet them…

Alphonso mango

How does your day start?

It varies. My flesh holds its shape better than Kesar’s, so I’m often fanned over bowls of morning oats or served (chopped hedgehog-style, of course) with yogurt.

What would you say is your greatest attraction?

My smell. I’m incredibly perfumed, much more than Kesar (though it would never admit this). Just walking down the fruit aisle will leave you bewitched by the waft of my scent.

Tell us your best mango fact.

Mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines. The Indian government has called me (okay, not me specifically, but mangoes in general) the country’s most important fruit. Too right we are.

Do you prefer sweet or savoury?

I tend to be a little less juicy-sweet than Kesar, which I think results in me being a better bet if you’re using mangoes in savoury dishes.

But when you do go sweet...

Kulfi is an obvious favourite. But I must say – I like the look of the mint sugar in this recipe. What a way to go…

Kesar mango

Why should someone choose you over Alphonso?

My skin is beautifully smooth (go on, have a feel), colourful and peels back to reveal flesh that’s deliciously sweet and a blaze of deep orange.

Any gripes about how you’re used?

I think I speak for most mangoes when I say that being pigeonholed as a sweet ingredient can be extremely frustrating. A mango isn’t a mango isn’t a mango, you know? Some are better-suited to savoury dishes than others, but we’re all more than capable of tip-toeing across the sweet-savoury divide.

All right, sorry we asked. Whereabouts are you from?

You’ll see rows and rows of Kesar mango trees throughout Kutch, a district inside Gujarat, located in Western India.

Favoured way to be peeled?

My flesh tends to be softer than Alphonso, so the glass technique is a good way to go: press the skin-meets-flesh edge against the rim of a glass and push down (carefully, mind) to peel.

Tell us one thing we might not know about you.

Back in Kutch, Kesar mango pulp is often served at weddings as a sign of prestige.

We source our Kesar mangoes from Agrocel, a producer based in Gujarat, India. You can read more about what they do here.