For Indian actress and cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey, the best thing to do with a mango is simply eat it. Her favorite way to enjoy them doesn't involve a knife or perfectly cut dice. Instead, she pierces the top of a soft, ripe mango with her nail, puts the fruit to her mouth, squeezes, and lets the sweet juice and flesh flow into her mouth.
Jaffrey was the featured guest at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's 18th Annual International Mango Festival, which celebrated the mangoes of India this past weekend. The beloved fest seemed busier than ever, with parking already running scarce around 11 a.m. Saturday and trees nearly sold out by Sunday morning. But there were plenty of mangoes to go around at the tasting and fruit market.
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Local chefs demonstrated mango-centric recipes. Our own Top Chef contestant, Andrea Curto-Randazzo, was there Friday at the prefestival culinary conference showing about 60 people how to make mango-bacon bread pudding. Mango Gang chefs Norman Van Aken and Allen Susser also dispensed recipes Friday, and Susser shared his mango-tasting notes.
Bollywood dancers, henna tattoos, and children's yoga kept festivalgoers entertained. And nobody seemed to mind the scorching heat -- we suppose because the best way to eat a mango is under the sun.