Here's where you can get some of the best mangoes of the season
Metro Morning food guide Suresh Doss recommends three GTA shops for his favourite mangoes
Suresh Doss: There are so many fruit markets in every corner of the GTA and you can see hundreds of varieties of fruit throughout the seasons. But let's focus — we are the mango capital, as far as I'm concerned. We get more varieties of mangoes from the different parts of the world than anywhere else.
Ismaila Alfa: I know you can find Haden and Ataulfo mangoes from Mexico, pretty much throughout the year, but you're not here to talk about those varieties?
Suresh Doss: You're right; we can get those year round. But the reason I come on the show this time of the year is because of the varieties from Asia, particularly South Asia and the Caribbean. Spring time here is when you start to see some of those more unique varieties, which don't stick around too long.
This is when you start to see the year's first Julie mangoes or the popular Alphonso mangoes and now, the Kesar mangoes.
Ismaila Alfa: Okay, so walk me through why these are some of the more popular varieties. I know the mango wars in Toronto can be as heated as the patty wars.
Suresh Doss: Okay, so let's pick three. The Julie mango, also known as the Saint Julian mango is common throughout the Caribbean. It has a thick green skin protecting bright, sun-coloured flesh. The flesh is quite juicy; when it's ripe you can practically scoop it with a spoon.
This mango is the banner for the Caribbean nations, meaning that it literally tastes like a tropical cocktail. You close your eyes and you can taste hints of coconut and pineapple.
Then, there's the Alphonso mango from India. These are smaller mangos with a thin yellow skin, they are incredibly delicate. And these are mangoes you can smell from across the room before you cut into them. They have a very delicate perfume aroma and the inside is incredibly creamy and plump.
Ismaila Alfa: That sounds right up my alley. And the Kesar?
Suresh Doss: The Kesars are also Indian mangoes, and they are just arriving. And these are mangos that are incredibly juicy, and with a very delicate skin. You can literally peel off the skin with your hands; this is how we were taught when we were kids. Then, you just dig into it, juices running down your arms. Ismaila, the best comparison I can make is eating a ripe summer peach, something you want to be doing over the sink, perhaps.
Ismaila Alfa: So where can you go to get these mangoes?
Suresh Doss: I'm going to list a few stores. Let's start with the places that I can confirm that do curbside pickup, so this way you can safely get a case of mango.
If you want Alphonsos, the gold standard in Toronto is Kohinoor Foods, which is in Little India. You have to call ahead and they sell them by the box.
If you're downtown, there's a great two-year-old Indian grocery store in the core. I love this place. Its called Nav's Grocery and it's on Lake Shore by Bathurst. They also carry the Alphonsos; the owner says they get 100 cases a week. And a hot tip here, they sell them individually.
Ismaila Alfa: That's rare, I take it?
Suresh Doss: These mangoes are almost always sold by the case. So you can go to Nav's and buy one Alphonso.
Ismaila Alfa: What about the Kesars?
Ismaila Alfa: Now, pre-COVID, one of the things you used to host was a mango tasting. Can you tell me more about that?
Suresh Doss: We would gather a few friends, hit up a few stores, get different mangoes, cut them up and try them together to see which ones we liked. In the spring months in Toronto, you can easily do this with up to 20 mango varieties. If you want to shop for selection, beyond the Alphonsos and Kesar, then I would suggest you go to Sunny Mart in Leaside or Lone Tai in Scarborough, they are on Lawrence Avenue They have an incredible selection of mangoes.
There is also the Danforth Fruit Market, my neighbourhood shop, which has crates and crates of mangoes; varieties from Brazil, to Colombia, to Peru, Jamaica and India. They also carry the popular Julie mangoes. But you should call ahead though to see if they do Curbside pickup.
Ismaila Alfa: Yes, that's very important at this time. Suresh, with things being so difficult in Ontario right now, we're great to look forward to the after-times.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.