Thousands of Miamians braved the 90-plus-degree weather this weekend to celebrate the mango in all its forms.
The sweet, fragrant fruit was the star attraction at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's 25th-annual International Mango Festival, where lovers of the fruit could do everything from taste and rate exotic varieties to bid on rare samples and even drink them.
This year's theme, "From Wild to Table," shone a spotlight on the mango's versatility. Various vendors used the fruit in marinades, salads, breads, and even beer. A spicy conch salad was enhanced by succulent chunks of mango, and mango bread was a sweet bite. Fresh juice, made with Ratnagiri Alphonso mangoes from India, was a refreshing option on a hot day.
Wynwood's Concrete Beach Brewery sampled its Mango Gose. This 4.3 percent ABV mango ale is a bright porch pounder with subtle hints of the fruit and is available at the brewery for a limited time.
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The highlight of the weekend was Sunday's mango auction, where attendees could bid on rare varieties from around the world. Tahars from Israel and Brahm Kai Meus from Southeast Asia fetched pretty prices, with bids sometimes surpassing $100 for a basket of the fruit.
The festival also offered live music, garden tours, and baby trees for sale so locals could grow their own mangoes.