The weekend’s Mango Festival was a juicy affair for locals and tourists alike at the National Museum on Harbour Drive.
For the second year in a row, the Museum celebrated the fruit, an event started to mark mango season, which starts as early as May or June and lasts through the end of August, and the fruit’s importance to Caymanian culture and cuisine.
“Mangoes played a big part in [Cayman’s] heritage and culture. Back in the day, that was a means of survival; people made what they could out of mangoes so it wouldn’t go to waste. They made mango cakes, jams, chutneys, drinks – anything they could think of they made out of mangoes,” said Brian Watler Jr., public relations and media design specialist at the museum.
At the event, mango vendors dazzled taste buds: Scratch Gourmet prepared mango donuts; Powder Monkey had mango flavoured marshmallows; Willie Ebanks’ East End farm sold a wide variety of mangoes, juices and tarts; Carmen Conolly had different mango cakes; and the Agriculture Department demonstrated mango grafting and the different mango varieties Cayman has to offer.
A mango peeling competition saw the likes of Alfonso Wright, Eziethamae Bodden and a host of tourists get messy using only their teeth to remove peels from mangoes at lightning speed.
There were a number of succulent mango varieties and mango products on display – Springfels, East Indians, Julies, Hadens and of course long and common Cayman mangoes, jams and tarts. These items can all be found at supermarkets or corner stalls when in season.
Mr. Watler said the National Museum is an educational organization and it is important to educate the public and keep the culture alive by hosting the event.