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Store grazing: Champagne (or honey) mangoes are a slice of butter

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on July 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm | 5 Comments »
July 7, 2010 6:10 pm
Honey mangoes, or sometimes called Champagne mangoes, are available in stores now and for the next three weeks. Photo by Lui Kit Wong/Staff Photographer

I’m in love with Champagne mangoes. I have a box of them sitting on my desk right now, but I’m tempted to go buy another case. They are just that spectacular. And the season only has three or four weeks left.

Never heard of Champagne mangoes? That’s not surprising. They haven’t quite reached widespread appeal, but they’re getting there. You can find them at several local markets (listed at the end of this post). And, if you’re lucky, you’ll find them on local restaurant menus. Galanga Thai Cuisine serves the mangoes on the dessert menu – sticky rice in a coconut milk sauce, with slices of mango.

In the markets, they might also be called Honey mangoes, which I’ve heard many locals call them. Or some places call them the much less descriptive Ataulfo, which is the variety name. They also may show up at market labeled as Baby, Yellow or Young.

They’re delicious when they turn a buttery shade of orange-yellow, but the younger they are, the more green they are (the rule: the more yellow, the more ripe, the more sweet). They taste like the names “honey” or “champagne” imply – slippery, creamy and they carry a full, floral sweetness. The texture is unctuous and smooth. They’re delicious eaten by the slice, served over ice cream, in smoothies or in a fruit salsa. Or just peel and slice and eat at your desk like I am right now.

Ted Kenney, co-owner of Galanga Thai with wife and chef Yim Kenney, said the Honey mangoes, as he likes to call them, converted him away from the green mangoes he’d come to know and love.

“I remember thinking, ‘This is a mango?’ Because these small yellow mangoes are completely different from the bigger red-green mangoes that used to be the standard,” wrote Kenney in an email to me about his first taste of Honey mangoes.

“The red-green ones are what I was used to, from vacations as a kid in Hawaii,” he said. “I think the flavor of the Honey mango is a lot more intense. And more importantly, the red-green mangoes have fiber – not to knock them, but they have a kind of stringiness when you eat them. Whereas, Honey mangoes almost melt in your mouth when they’re ripe. My wife says the Honey mangoes also have a stronger aroma than the red-green ones.”

Honey/Champagne/Ataulfo mangoes are in season now, but will cycle out of local markets in the next three weeks. If we’re lucky, we’ll find them through the first week of August. The season for Honey mangoes won’t begin again in March, so stock up now.

I’ll have a feature about Honey mangoes in next Wednesday’s food section, with the recipe for Galanga Thai’s Sticky Rice with Mangoes. Thanks to Kenney for sharing it with readers. I’ll also have tips for slicing, how to tell if they’re ripe and other thoughts for serving and eating.

Meanwhile, here’s where to buy the Honey Mangoes and here is contact information for Galanga Thai:

Galanga Thai Cuisine
Where: 1129 Broadway, Tacoma
Info: 253-272-3393 or http://galangathai.com/
More about Galanga Thai: Here’s a story I wrote in 2008 about Galanga Thai’s delicious beef noodle soup.

East Asia Market
Where: 602 S 38th St., Tacoma
Phone: 253-473-3799
They had boxes and boxes of them as of this afternoon, located near the front of the store. An 18-pack box of champagne mangoes was a low price of $8.95. The prices can vary there, but these are the cheapest in town of the places I called.

Hong Kong Supermarket
Where: 3816 Yakima Ave., Tacoma
Phone: 253-471-0744
They have the Champagne mangoes in stock as of this afternoon. A 12-pack is $11.49.

Tacoma Boys
Where: Locations in Tacoma, Puyallup and Lakewood (H&L Produce)
Info: Website lists addresses
They have champagne mangoes in stock periodically, and get shipments of them 3-4 times a week. They expect to have them through the end of the month. Right now, they’re priced two for $3.

Metropolitan Market
Where: 2420 N. Proctor St., Tacoma
Phone: 253-761-3663
Available and in stock now. They’re marked as Honey mangoes there. They’re $1.99 each.

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