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Mango Varieties

By Cook's Illustrated Published March 2012

There are often two different kinds of mangos in the produce aisle: one that’s big, round, and reddish green and another that’s small, golden, and kidney-shaped. Do they taste the same?

There are hundreds of varieties of mangos, but most American supermarkets carry just one or two kinds. The large red fruit you describe is likely the Tommy Atkins variety, typically sourced from Mexico, Guatemala, and Brazil, whereas the smaller yellow fruit is probably the Ataulfo variety, which usually comes from Mexico. We commonly see the Champagne brand of the Ataulfo mango in our supermarkets in the Boston area.

We chose fully ripe samples of each type, looking for flesh that was yielding when we pressed it but not mushy, similar to the ideal texture of a peach. As we prepared the mangos for tasting, we noticed that the Tommy Atkins fruit had a larger pit than the more petite Ataulfo, in keeping with its larger size. Both types were juicy and soft, but the texture of the Ataulfo won out for being especially silky and tender. The flavor of the Ataulfo was also more complex, offering floral notes along with sweetness and tang. The pleasant piney flavor often associated with mangos was more present in the Tommy Atkins variety.

So, which to buy? Since the Tommy Atkins is usually less expensive and perfectly acceptable, we’ll stick with it for most uses, but we’re likely to splurge on the more luxurious Ataulfo type when mangos are the focal point of the dish.

TOMMY ATKINS

Juicy and Piney

ATAULFO

Silkier, sweeter, and floral.