The 'Alphonso' mango, also called Hafoos, Hapuz, or Aapoos, is a named mango cultivar that originated in India more than 4,000 years ago. Considered to be among the most superior varieties of mango in terms of sweetness, richness and flavour, the Alphonso is often called the King of Mangoes.
The variety is named after Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese general and military expert who helped establish Portuguese colonies in India. The Portuguese introduced grafting on mango trees to produce extraordinary varieties like Alphonso. The fruit was then introduced to the Konkan region in Maharashtra and Goa.
The Alphonso is also one of the most expensive varieties of mango and is grown mainly in western India including places such as Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Raigad districts and in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, India.
The Alphonso is a seasonal fruit, available mid-April through the end of June. The fruits generally weigh between 150 and 300 grams (5.3 and 10.6 oz). They have a rich, creamy, tender texture and delicate, non-fibrous, juicy pulp. The skin of a fully-ripe Alphonso mango turns bright golden-yellow with a tinge of red which spreads across the top of the fruit. The flesh of the fruit is saffron-coloured.
These characteristics make Alphonso one of the most in-demand cultivars. The skin of a fully ripe Alphonso mango turns bright golden yellow with a tinge of red which spreads across the top of the fruit.
In October 2018, the Alphonso mango from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and adjoining areas of Konkan region of Maharashtra received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag, certifying that it has a specific geographical origin and possesses qualities or reputation that are due to that origin. It thus joined products like Darjeeling tea, Mahabaleshwar strawberry, Banarasi sarees and Mysore silk that have received this tag in India.
The Alphonso is prized in domestic and international markets for its taste, fragrance and vibrant colour, and is one of the world's most popular fruits; it is exported to various countries, including Japan, Korea and Europe.
An import ban imposed in 1989 by the United States on Indian mangoes, including the Alphonso, was lifted only in April 2007. However, the mangoes needed to be treated before entering the country in order to stop the introduction of non-native fruit flies, destructive fungi, and other pests that could harm American agriculture. The European Union imposed a ban beginning in April 2014 on import of mangoes after finding "non-European fruit flies" in some consignments, creating a significant threat to UK salad crops. The Indian government had described this decision as arbitrary and businesses claimed they would suffer financial losses due to the ban.
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