Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mango Madness

You would think they were selling freshly plucked black truffles from Lalbenque, France, what with the swarm of shoppers surrounding the Wong Farms mango stand this Wednesday at the Santa Monica farmers' market. The frenzy was quite a sight—so much for the notion of the laid-back Angeleno.
Wong Farms sells the most extraordinary, tree-ripened mangos from the Coachella Valley from mid August thru mid September. This was their second week at the farmers' market, and the word was out. Luckily, I had ordered my mangos the week before, so I was there to pick up my case. The frenzy was due to the fact that after 10 a.m., Wong sells whatever mangos are left that were not picked up from customers who preordered.
When I got there, the line was already long. But if you could taste this mango you'd understand why. As I was standing in line being pushed and shoved, a guy walked by and said he didn’t even care what they were selling, he was going to get whatever people were waiting for—it was hysterical.
They were selling the Valencia Pride mangos, and this was the last week for those (next week, they start with the Keitt varietals), and their Valencia Pride mangos are just unbelievable. First, once ripened, the texture is like no other mango I’ve ever had except in India. The flavor is intense, floral and almost perfumed—in a good way. I love to chill them and just spoon out the mango.
Last night some friends came over for dinner, and Stan scrapped off the remaining flesh from the skin and seed, threw it in a cocktail shaker, muddled it, added some vodka and ice and whipped up the most delicious cocktail. It needed nothing else.
Next week, the frenzy will probably be even crazier for the first of the seasons Keitt varietals. Order yours in advance. The mangos sell for $3.49 a pound and are worth every cent. Wong Farms, 760-265-9167.


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