Although it initially can be a challenge to eat, the mango’s sweet taste and lovely color make it irresistible. In fact, more fresh mangos are eaten a day worldwide than any other fruit.1 Unlike the more common apples and oranges, I can still remember the first time I enjoyed this fruit, carefully scoring the taut flesh and using my teeth to free the bites one at a time. I had never tasted anything so exotic and tantalizing before, with the sweet juice dripping down my chin and making my fingers sticky. Although messy, the mango’s flavor instantly transported me from my small Midwestern town to a remote island in the Caribbean.
Truly, mangos can only be cultivated in tropical locations, and India is the top importer of the fruit.1,2 They also are grown in limited quantities in California, Florida and Hawaii, due to the need for a specific climate. The storied fruit has been linked to a variety of fanciful beliefs, including the ability of the mango tree to grant wishes and blessings. A Hindu legend tells of a mango tree growing from the ashes of the sun princess who had been burned by an evil sorceress. The Emperor fell in love with the mango’s flowers and fruit, and when it ripened and fell to the ground, the beautiful princess emerged. Thus, the fruit has become a symbol of love in India.1
In the kitchen
In real life, mangos contain a large amount of vitamins C and E, both of which are important antioxidant nutrients.3 They are very juicy with a sweet taste and high water content. Widely used in chutney, cereals, desserts and beverages, mangos are a common delight in spa cuisine menus.4
At Agave The Arizona Spa at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Mediterranean menu features Fresh Melon and Mango Soup with Plantain Chips. Sea Porch Shrimp Cocktail with Mango Slaw and Cocktail Sauce can be enjoyed at The Don CeSar Beach Resort & Spa in St. Pete Beach, Florida, and for a delicious, tropical lunch, see Mango-Napa Cabbage Summer Roll with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce from Executive Chef Guillermo J. Gomez at Maroma Resort & Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
In the spa
For the skin, mango’s fruit acids, gallic acids, myristic acid, quercetin and other antioxidants help to exfoliate and rejuvenate.5 The Mango Salt Glow offered by The Silvertree Hotel in Snowmass Village, Colorado, is a vigorous exfoliation that features mango sorbet to stimulate circulation and mango lotion to smooth. At Hart-Felt Massage & Day Spa in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii, the Mango Kukui Salt Scrub combines Hawaiian sea salt and mango butter with kukui nut for an exfoliation that lasts for days, and the Mango Body Scrub at Micro Spa in Las Vegas combines the benefits of mango with the natural sounds of a tropical paradise for a refreshing service. To enjoy an actual tropical paradise, visit The Westin St. John Resort & Villas in the Virgin Islands and experience the Mango Indulgence-Sugar Polish Wrap, which features a mango scrub and wrap, followed by a relaxing scalp massage. Back on the mainland, Eastside Oasis in Bellevue, Washington, features a 4 1/2 hour Mango Spa Treatment that includes a Mango Body Wrap, Spa Pedicure and Enzyme Facial.
Products that feature this multifunctional fruit are also offered by a variety of companies, including Keyano Aromatics, which features a Mango Spa line, including Mango Butter Cream, Scrub, Candle, Shower Gel, Body Mask, Pedi Peel, Facial Enzyme Peel, Mineral Bath and Massage Oil. The Micro-Buff Creme Body Polish Mango & Mandarin from Biotone nourishes with antioxidant vitamins, giving skin a smooth, silky texture, and A Natural Difference offers its Mango Peel, which exfoliates and rejuvenates dried-out skin, renewing its appearance. Pevonia also recently launched its Mango-Passion Fruit Ligne Tropicale De-Aging Balm to nourish, replenish and repair skin.
The best of both worlds
With its combination of an exotic, sweet taste, and antioxidant and exfoliating benefits, the mango combines the best of both worlds—health and indulgence. Whether eating it, enjoying its fragrance or experiencing its body benefits, mangos nurture and entice—and are a perfect addition to your spa menu.
(All accessed on Aug. 13, 2007)
Mango-Napa Cabbage Summer Roll with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce
From Guillermo J. Gomez, Executive Chef for Maroma Resort & Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico
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Makes 1 serving
7 ounces napa cabbage
3 tablespoons hot soy sauce
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
2 pieces of rice paper
1.5 ounces red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1.5 ounces red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1.5 ounces Romaine lettuce
1. Paint rice paper with hot soy sauce to soften it.
2. Slice mango into sticks and napa cabbage very thinly.
3. Julienne bell peppers.
4. Marinate the napa cabbage in hot soy sauce and fish sauce.
5. Place napa cabbage, mango, cilantro and a good portion of red bell pepper, red onion and Romaine lettuce on extended rice paper.
6. Roll the preparation.
7. Wait three minutes to allow all of the ingredients to marinate, then cut in half.
8. Serve with sliced lettuce, red onions and bell peppers on top, along with a side order of hot soy sauce.