Moist, marvelous mangoes. If the mere mention of them makes your mouth swoon, then get ready for this weekend when the 22nd annual International Mango Festival graces our palates. The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden event will be held Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13, because one day of mango worship is just not enough. Among the yoga, shopping, lectures, and activities for the kids, there's tons of mango to try.
Mango Tasting Room
For only $25 (free for members and kids under 5), you can partake in an all-day mango sugar high. Begin in the Mango Tasting Room to sample a diverse plethora of fresh mangoes for only $1 and then vote for your favorite. There are two key differences with 2014's festival: This year Fairchild will highlight the mangoes of Colombia, with both Azucar (super sweet) and Vallenato (red and sometimes spicy) mangoes on hand, among many others. This year also produced a bountiful crop, so there will be a massive amount of mangoes to gorge on unlike last year's weak harvest. After you decide which mangoes are your most coveted, you can buy a handful of them at the Mangoville marketplace, where you can also purchase your own mango trees to plant at home.
Mangoes of the World
One of the festival highlights is the Mangoes of the World Display, which is the largest mango collection in the world. On Sunday at 2 p.m., these mangoes will be sold off at the Mango Auction. It will be a standing room only crowd lead by Dr. Richard J. Campbell that bids on the hundreds of mangoes from across the globe -- try not to scratch your nose too deliberately or you may have just bid on a very rare and expensive fruit.
Mango fest 2014 features some lessons on how to make the most out of the fruit. On Saturday, learn how to make vegan raw mango pie with strawberry glaze from Mariana Cortez of Bunnie Cakes, mango pad thai from Rose Flynn of Choices Vegan Café,
as well as BBQ brisket rolls, green mango chow chow and mango-mustard BBQ sauce with Albert Cabrera of Bread + Butter. On Sunday, Monica Duenas of Ortanique on the Mile will demonstrate how to prepare mango tres leches and beer sommelier Don Lindsay will talk pairing mangoes and summer brews.
If cooking demonstrations are too much of a tease or you want to enjoy mangoes away from the pedestrians and with some A/C, make a reservation for the Mango Brunch on Sunday at 11 a.m. This fundraiser for Fairchild's Tropical Fruit Program will feature six star chefs' unique mango dishes. Guests will dine on creations from Chef Allen Susser (poached shrimp with mango, quinoa, kale and roasted lemon & scallion vinaigrette), Timo's Tim Andriola (mahi taquitos with mango slaw), The Oceanaire's Kareem Anguin (shrimp and mango feta salad), and more.
"My inspiration for this dish comes from the weather and it being so hot in the summer time. So I wanted to create a healthy, refreshing dish and something that's also light," Anguin told Short Order. "My perspective on mangoes is that they are very versatile...I use mangoes to make chutney which I pair with jerk black grouper and citrus sweet potatoes. I also love the aroma of mangoes."
Brunch ticket prices are $100 for members and $125 for non-members. Call 305-663-8044 to purchase.
The festival runs Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Admission is free for members and children 5 and under, $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up, and $12 for children 6-17. Discounts available for anyone who walks, bikes or takes public transportation to the festival.