There was a time in my past when I didn’t know whether to love or hate mangoes. Actually, hate is the wrong word. Resent is more accurate.
As a young chef, determined to fashion the world of flavour in my own image mangoes riled me. You see, they are a fruit that seem more perfect in their natural form than cooked or prepared. The mango pays no heed to the years of labour I have spent learning my craft. Instead it continues, year after delicious year, to be plucked from its tree, each more tasty than the one before.
After all, I’m sure you’d agree that the quintessential Sydney Boxing Day experience boils down to matters mango. Start by escaping from all the relatives who have crowded you for the last 24 festive hours and find just a few private moments to indulge in a soft ripe mango under a tree.
Solitude, a beach view, a mango. Really, what more could anyone ask for?
More than half of all the world’s mangoes are grown in India. Australia, by comparison, has a relatively small crop. But what we lack in size, we make up for in quality.
Our mango season starts in the Northern Territory in September and continues until March when the Queensland season closes. You’ll find a range of varietals at different times during the season. Pearl, Kensington Pride, Alphonso, Keitt and Madame Francis. But my favourite is still the R2E2, a uniquely Australian hybrid that got its unusual name from the row position where this tree first appeared on a farm in Queensland.
But what then of the chef?
For all the clever mango concoctions I have eaten over the last twenty years, nothing can compete with a perfectly made mango semifreddo. It is icy cold and refreshing in the heat of summer madness. Where most foods must be warmed to release their true flavour, mango comes to life when slightly chilled. But best of all, anyone can make mango semifreddo at home, and you don’t even need an ice cream churn!!