Mango Festivals in the Caribbean

Four islands that celebrate mango season in a big way

 

The mango is one of the world’s most popular fruits, and more than 100 varieties grow in the Caribbean. Each island lays claim to producing the juiciest and most flavorful fruits. But some take it beyond bragging rights by staging festivals and parties dedicated to all things mango. Here are the best places to celebrate the summer harvest and take in all the rich flavors of this king of fruits.

Mango Madness, St. Lucia June to July 2, 2017

June is known as “Month of the Mango” on St. Lucia, and the resorts of Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet go all out to honor the fruit. Throughout the month, resort guests can enjoy a variety of fruit-focused events. There are cooking demonstrations and chutney making classes, special five-course mango-themed dinners and plenty of mango-based treatments at Jade Mountain’s Kai en Ciel spa and Anse Chastenet’s Kai Belte spa. Guests can even learn how to craft mango cocktails and visit the organic farm where much of the produce used in the resorts is grown. The month ends with a six-day Mango Madness Festival that runs from June 27 to July 2 and includes numerous culinary events. http://www.jademountain.com/cuisine/culinary_events.html

Mango Madness Chef Allen Susser

Mango Madness at St. Lucia’s Anse Chastanet resort will be hosted by chef Allen Susser, who is the author of The Great Mango Book, an authoritative mango cookbook. Photo: Bernd Rac/Jade Mountain

Mango Melee, St. Croix July 9, 2017

At the peak of mango season, the George Village Botanical Gardens stages a day of educational workshops, children’s activities and a food competition. Known as “Mango Dis, Mango Dat,” this fruit-themed cook-off brings in chefs from around the Virgin Islands to showcase their inventive talents. There are four categories in which mangoes are used: Sips, Sweets, Salsas and Stuff. The day’s demonstrations and tastings include a tropical fruit identifying seminar and mango eating contests. Local food and drink vendors will be on site with an array of mango products for sale. This year’s 21st Annual Mango Melee and Tropical Fruit Festival takes place on Sunday July 9, 2017. www.sgvbg.org

Ripe Mango

Mangos have been cultivated for more than 5,000 years, and were first brought from the Far East to the Caribbean by Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. Photo: Flickr

Nevis Mango & Food Festival:  July 6 to 9, 2017

The small island of Nevis goes all out for a four-day celebration of the mango that includes dining experiences, cooking demonstrations and cook-along classes. Celebrity chefs come to the island for demonstrations, and to prepare some of the culinary dinners. This year’s event welcomes Iron Chef Judy Joo and Celebrity Chef Seamus Mullen. Local chefs from the island’s top restaurants and hotels are also invited to showcase their creative culinary skills by incorporating mangos in recipes presented at the festival finale: the Nevisian Chefs Mango Feast. Attendees will gather to celebrate on Oualie Beach with mango tastings, sample dishes and rum tastings. A highlight of the weekend is the Friday night Mango Beach Lime Festival Party, staged at the various beach bars lining Pinney’s Beach. The festival runs Thursday through Sunday, July 6-9, 2017. www.nevisisland.com/nevismangofest

Nevis Mango Festival

A highlight of the 2017 Nevis Mango & Food Festival will be a special dinner staged at the Four Seasons Mango restaurant with Judy Joo of Iron Chef fame.

Antigua and Barbuda Mango Festival : July 30-31, 2017

This event engages both guests and professional chefs in a range of special activities and workshops. The festival takes place at the Christian Valley Agricultural Station, where some 25 elite mango varieties are grown. These include Trinidad’s “Julie”, Haiti’s “Madame Francisque”, Cuba’s “Piniero”, Asian “Num Mai Doc” and a number of varieties from Florida. During the two-day event, participants can learn budding and grafting techniques, tour groves, visit food booths and enjoy live entertainment. There will be plenty of mango products to taste and buy, a story telling session, and a screening of the film “Sweetest Mango.” The main event is the Magic Mango Menu Culinary competition for profession hotel chefs and bartenders. The festival takes place July 30 and 31, 2017. www.antiguanice.com

Mango On Tree

Color is not always a good indicator of a ripe mango. As they reach peak ripeness, mangos become slightly soft to the touch, and will give off a fruity aroma at their stem ends. Photo: Ard Hesselink/Flickr

 

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