Mangoes are often heralded as the queen of tropical fruits, and among mangoes, Alphonso Mangoes are widely acknowledged to be the best of the best. Alphonso, also known as hapoos, were first cultivated in India by Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese explorer. This exquisite variety was introduced through grafts on mango trees in Goa. Among the thousands of cultivars of mango in India, there are several varieties of Alphonso. The most sought after are the ones grown in Ratnagiri. These naturally ripened, and hand-harvested mangoes are widely exported, and are a favourite of international chefs.
Alphonso mangoes are readily available in Hyderabad; however, their quality can of dubious. The ones available in the super market are almost always carbide ripened mangos from local farms. Hence, I was delighted to learn that Khaugiri, which sells naturally ripened Ratnagiri, had started shipping to Hyderabad. I shipping price was a shocker though – Rs. 450 shipping for a dozen mangos (shipping is free for Mumbai/Pune). Abhay Bhat, the man behind Khao Giri, informed me that the steep shipping price was due to the mangoes being shipped by Blue Dart’s temperature controlled, next-day delivery service.
I placed my order on the morning of 20th May, and the order was dispatched by the evening. The order was expected to be delivered by 21st, but due to some delay on behalf of Blue Dart they reached me on the afternoon of 22nd. In spite of the delay, and total turnaround time was undoubtedly impressive. I received my Ratnagiri Alphonso in 54 hours!
The mangoes were neatly packed, and were in perfect condition when they were delivered. However, most of them seemed raw when they were delivered. Abhay recommending taking the mangoes out of the box, and keeping them on a newspaper for a couple of days.
By next day evening, a couple of mangoes appeared to have ripened. And even if they hadn’t, I couldn’t bother to wait any longer. Luckily for us, the mangoes had ripened, and turned out to be delicious – firm, yet juicy and sweet. The remaining Alphonsoes matured over the course of next ten days. They did take a bit longer to ripen than I would have expected, but that could very well be because they were carbide free.
A thousand bucks for a dozen mangoes is not cheap by any measure, but it is still less than what some Hyderabad based organic mango farms charge. Also, it’s just about the five servings of CreamStone’s Mr. Alphonso. Nevertheless, given the amount of time the mangoes took to ripen, I believe that Khaugali should consider providing a standard shipping (3-4 days) option with reduced costs.