Robin Anish | The Table is Set: Champagne mangoes brighten up last days of winter

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On this dreary, late winter day, I'm about to provide a bit of sunshine!

As I drove down Route 7 recently, I was delighted to see the sign outside of Guido's Market announcing the arrival of Champagne mangoes.

Golden yellow on the outside and sunny orange on the inside, one taste of this juicy, exquisitely sweet, tropical fruit and you'll be packing your bags and hopping on the next plane heading for a tropical island to escape the cold, slushy gray days that are the month of March in the Berkshires and southern Vermont; hence, the sunshine I promised!

Sorry, that was awfully ornery. Yes, I am weary of winter, but on the upside, Champagne mangoes have arrived!

Mangoes are available in markets year-round, but the Champagne mango is not. Late winter through mid-summer is the only time these little gems are in the markets.

What makes Champagne mangoes so special and how are they different? Their golden color when ripe is the obvious difference from the more familiar red mangoes, but the real difference is in the taste. Champagne mangoes are sweeter and the texture of the fruit is smooth, unlike other types of mangoes that are quite fiberous.

Champagne mangoes ripen from green to a yellow-orange, and are ripe and ready to eat when the fruit feels soft with a gentle squeeze.

So, now that Champagne mangoes have arrived enjoy them! Eat them fresh, eat them cooked, eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, in a smoothie, in a salad or a sandwich, a taco or a Margarita and don't forget dessert!

Here are a few more ideas to make the most of the Champagne mango season!

Mango chicken salad

INGREDIENTS:


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

2 cups cooked diced chicken

1 cup diced Champagne mango

1 avocado, diced

1 stalk celery, sliced

1/4 cup red onion finely chopped

salt & pepper to taste

romaine lettuce

1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

DIRECTIONS:

Combine mayonnaise, lime juice, and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in chicken, mango, avocado, celery and onion. Serve on a bed of romaine and garnish with almonds or use as a sandwich filling on crusty rolls.

Warm mango compote

INGREDIENTS:


2 mangoes, diced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

2 tablespoon of butter

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the diced mango in a small buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, dot with butter and bake ten minutes or until mango is soft and caramelized. Delicious on oatmeal for breakfast or spooned over vanilla ice cream for dessert.



Champagne mango cocktail

INGREDIENTS:


Lime wedges

Sugar, for rim

1 mango, diced and pureed in a blender

Chilled dry Champagne

DIRECTIONS:

Moisten the rim of a champagne glass with the wedge of lime. Dip the rim into granulated sugar. For each cocktail, add a tablespoon of mango puree and top with three ounces of Champagne and serve.

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