Alphonse is a small, roundish mango with a smooth, pale orange to deep orange peel. The peel colouration is not a particular selling point of the fruit, often being rather blotchy and slightly discoloured, but this does not detract from the internal quality. Alphonse mangoes often have a strong aroma as they ripen, unlike many of the mainstream commercial varieties. The stone is quite fat and slightly uneven. The flesh is an intense reddish-orange colour, smooth and almost fibreless. Some fibre will be detected on the stone, but it is not unpleasant or excessive. The flavour and sweetness are intense, exquisite, rich and unique, well worth tracking down to your local Indian store.
In India, there are claims that the Devgad Alphonse has more intense aroma and greater flavour. As with many niche varieties of fruit, the taste of those grown in other countries, far away from their origin, cannot replicate the original, and the Alphonse is no different. The reported differences in eating quality even between the various growing areas in Western India, therefore, comes as no surprise.
Ripening & Quality: Most Alphonse sold in UK is by the box (e.g. 5-6 fruit). Buy the fruit when they are still smooth and with a hint of pale green in the peel. Avoid buying green fruit with wrinkles as these were probably picked too early to ripen properly.
Eat when the fruit is quite tender, even soft, with a deepening orange peel colour. A slightly wrinkled peel is a sign of quite advanced ripeness, but more noticeable wrinkling indicates over-ripeness.
Occasionally, the flesh will contain ‘sponginess’, a soft, corky, discoloured area of flesh, only visible after cutting the fruit. This is a disorder associated with ripening and germination and is unpleasant for the consumer: usually it renders the fruit inedible. Small areas of spongy flesh can be removed without ill-effect.
Good Fruit Guide Rating: *****
Alphonse is widely recognised as one of the best mango varieties available.
Soft, intense, sweet
Names: Alphonse; Devgad Alphonse; Alphonso; Devgad Hapus
Grown in: Western states on India. The main production is in Maharashtra and Gujarat states, where the best quality fruit can be narrowed down to distinct districts and even villages. Alphonse mangoes produced in the Konkan belt along the coast of Maharashtra, specifically fruit grown in the districts of Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad and Thane, have been awarded Geographical Indication (GI) status.
Harvest & Availability: Alphonse is normally available in UK from April to early June, but the selling season can start in late March:
- March: India
- April: India
- May: India
- June: India
Devgad Alphonse – India