Rosa: a pretty feminine name, popularly used in Latin American soap operas. This is however not about a television show. To Rosa, we have added the letter T and it refers to a luscious, juicy, round-shaped mango whose color is inclined towards purple.
Mango trees are native to the Indo-Malaysian region and have been cultivated for over 4000 years. There are about 300 cultivars of it worldwide. These are varieties of plants, obtained under specific conditions by growing them for their unique characteristics. In Mauritius they were first introduced by the Dutch. Over the years, they have been scattered in the wild. It is not unusual to find them near our rivers, in green spaces as well as in shadowed rows in our orchards. Many mangoes bear the names of women. Why? Most probably because of the landowners of the time who created new varieties and wanted to pay tribute to their wives. Thus, Adele, Eugenie, Aristide, Odette, Sybil, Elise, Henriette and of course Rosa (T) are the most popular ones.
Mangoes, including the famous Rosa (t) can be savored in different ways: green, half-ripe or very ripe. In Summer, we often see candied fruits cut into thin slices, soaked in water, salt, sugar, vinegar and green chilly in jars. Back in the day, our elders would make salads and expose them to the sun to ensure an improved flavor, but, much to their disappointment, would later pick up half-empty bowls as the children would have binged on this delightful season preparation.
Should a chopper or grater not be available, the easiest way to make a good green mango chutney is to hold it in the palm of the hand, cut it finely with a sharp knife making tiny diamond shapes. Once carved, these lozenges are pressed, to get rid of the acidity and excess juice. Then other ingredients such as onion, pepper, oil and salt are added. Green mango chutney goes well with traditional Mauritian dishes: Rice, black lentils, salted fish or dried octopus grilled over a wood fire in a ‘rougaye’ (tomato sauce – based preparation)
For dessert: an excellent stew of mango mint, a sorbet, a mango jelly or a fresh soup of mangoes with island aromas is recommended. Refreshing at will, these desserts delight consumers during and after the festive period. A dessert with Rosa (T) is not only the result of an encounter or a discovery, it is a real exotic treat.