A basket of Himsagar at Gokul Bhog in Phoolbagan. Pictures by Anindya Shankar Ray & Amit Datta
BEST OF THE BEST
top 10 varieties
Alphonso or Hapoos: Ratnagiri, Deogarh and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra
Kesar: Maharashtra, Gujarat
Daseri: Lucknow and Maliabad in UP
Chausa: Lucknow and Maliabad in UP
Sweet mango: Imported from Bangkok and Australia
Himsagar: Santipur in Nadia, Malda, Chandernagore in Hooghly and Odisha
Lyangra: Basirhat in North 24-Parganas and Santipur
Gulabkhas: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh
Begunphuli: Nadia and Malda, Andhra Pradesh
Benishaan: Andhra Pradesh
Most in demand
lGoing by demand, Alphonso is undoubtedly the king. Himsagar is a close second, followed by Lyangra. Gulabkhas and Begunphuli are next.
WHERE TO GET THEM?
MECHHUABAZAR FRUIT MARKET
For mango varieties from beyond Bengal
How to reach
From Mahatma Gandhi Road Metro station, take the lane opposite Mahajati Sadan. Go past Jorasanko police station and ask for Rituraj Hotel. You can’t miss the market from there.
Your best bet
Raj & Sons
10A Madan Mohan Burman Street
(033-22706250, 22726192, 9831056201
Home delivery available (minimum order of Rs 500).
COLLEGE STREET (POST 11PM) & SEALDAH MARKET
For mango varieties from Bengal
How to reach
Take the road adjacent Mahajati Sadan till the crossing with tramlines. Turn right. Traffic is not allowed beyond this point after 11pm. The mango market stretches up to the Sealdah flyover.
Your best bet
There are close to 45 aratdaars in the area whom you need to approach. Samir Paul, the secretary of their association, can guide you through the apparently chaotic auctioning. (9903164751
(Based on wholesalers’ recommendations)
Gokul Bhog and Gokul Vatika
P6 CIT Road, Scheme VIM, Phoolbagan, (beside Bata showroom)
Madan Fruit Shop
31 Asutosh Mukherjee Road, Jadubabu Market
1 AJC Bose Road (near the Exide crossing)
174B Block G, New Alipore
5A Motilal Baisakh Lane, Kankurgachhi
lThe first supply of Alphonso (Hapoos) arrives in end-January. It costs around Rs 1,100-1,200 per dozen. The peak season is April to mid-June, when the price comes down to Rs 400-Rs 450 per dozen (wholesale rate).
Kesar sells at Rs 250 per dozen.
Chausa enters the market around mid-June. It costs around Rs 50 per kg.
Gulabkhas sells at Rs 60 per kilo, Badami (Begunphuli) and Totahpari for Rs 35-45 per kilo.
Himsagar and Lyangra; around Rs 40-Rs 60 per kg.
Hapoos and Kesar come packed in boxes of six and 12 mangoes, termed a peti. “We sell around 400 petis of Hapoos from my shop daily,” said Rajkumar of Raj & Sons.
Hapoos costs around Rs 600 per peti at Gokul Shree while Himsagar and Lyangra sell at around Rs 60 per kg there. “We sell about 100 petis of Alphonso per day,” said Laxmi Kant Balasaria, owner of Gokul Shree.
The finest Himsagar and Lyangra cost around Rs 80 to Rs 90 per kilo at Gokul Bhog in Phoolbagan. The outlet sells a special variety imported from Bangkok and Australia, called “sweet mangoes”, at Rs 400 per kilo. Alphonso sells at Rs 600 to Rs 900 per peti at Gokul Bhog.
SHARAD DEWAN, Director, Food Production, The Park, Calcutta
The Mechhua market is the best place. Himsagar is the best local produce. Banarasi Lyangra from Bhagalpur comes next. Famous and fashionable is the Alphonso.
GAURAV LAVANIA, Executive Sous Chef, ITC Sonar Calcutta
The Mechhua market is where you get the best mangoes. Our suppliers collect the best mangoes from different wholesalers. My pick is Lyangra from Malda.
VIKRAM GANPULE, Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency
I am biased towards the Alphonso as I grew up in Maharashtra. The Himsagar from Malda and Chandernagore are equally good.
Know your mango. Gachhpaka mangoes are those that have ripened naturally. Jaatpaka are ripened with chemicals.
For the connoisseur, nothing beats gachhpaka, which are costlier and more in demand.
“One can know his gachhpaka by looking at the colour of the mango. If the entire body is reddish or orangish, it’s not gachhpaka. Look for a greenish body with a reddish area around the stalk,” says Samir Paul on College Street.
Mangoes are auctioned at both Mechhua and College Street markets. The seller and the prospective buyer shake hands under a large white piece of cloth and close the deal through a complex series of signals based on the exact way the hand is shaken. The code is zealously guarded.