Mangoes originated in the area of South Asia once known as India, and which now makes up India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. India still produces over half of the world’s mangoes but is accountable for only 1% of export as they are mostly eaten in the country. There are more than 400 varieties of mango available worldwide, with the Indian Alfonso and Kesir varieties and the Chaunsa mango from Pakistan widely being considered to be the best in flavour and texture. Mangoes found in British supermarkets tend to be Kent or Tommy Atkins. These mangoes have been bred to last longer without spoiling, although the flavour and texture is generally of inferior quality to their Asian counterparts. Equally important in the quality of mango is the ripeness. Mangos take between three and six months to ripen on the tree, but more often the mangoes imported into Britain have been picked unripe and left to ripen on the long boat journey.
Mangoes have been grown for at least 5000 years and are steeped in cultural history. Buddha is believed to have found rest under a mango tree, and mangoes are widely considered a symbol of love and friendship. The mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines. The first recording of Mangoes consumption in Europe was in 1510.