Mangoes really have quite a rich flavour. Rich and complex, with plenty of subtleties. Despite this, they’re actually fairly easy to use in cooking. As it happens, the overall mango flavour is contributed to by a whole host of different volatile flavour compounds. These are the main ones. Some of these are a bit obscure, but I’ve given some possible food pairing options for what I could find…
A rather unusual looking, fruity smelling terpene. 3-carene is found in the flavours of several herbs and spices, including angelica, anise, basil, bergamot, cinnamon, rosemary, sage and thyme. It’s also found in citrus fruits, such as lime and orange (particularly blood orange).
- ethyl dodecanoate
A long chain ester also known as ethyl laurate. Interestingly, it’s found in several alcoholic spirits, including cognac, malt whiskey and dark rum. It’s actually created by yeast, as the alcohol’s still being fermented.
- hexyl hexanoate
Found in apple peel and peaches.
- methyl hexanoate
A beautifully fruity ester, found in the flavours of passionfruit, papaya, kiwi fruit, soursop, oysters, pineapple, blue cheese, white wine, cider, cranberry, melon, olive, raspberry and strawberry!
- geranyl acetate
A floral smelling ester. Found in apple, apricot, bergamot, butterscotch, citrus fruits, corriander, pineapple, tomato, raspberry and rose. It’s also found in some rums.
The main aroma compound in citronella, this chemical is also found in a few different types of fruit, including apple, apricot, peach, cherry, pineapple, raspberry and various citrus fruit. It’s also found in black tea and rose oil.
A spicy smelling compound, carvone gives the bite to caraway seeds and dill, as well as being found in spearmint and (to a much lesser extent) peppermint. It’s also found in mandarin orange peel.
Ionones are amongst a group of compounds known as rose ketones. Ionone contributes to the flavour of roses, raspberries, carrots, violets and certain red wines.
As it’s name implies, limonene is a major aroma compound in lemons, as well as oranges.
Found in bay leaves and verbena.
A peppery, slightly cistrussy smelling turpene, found in eucalyptus and water fennel.
- α-terpineol / β-terpineol
An alcohol, closely related to limonene.
Wait… what? Toluene!?
One of the main contributors to the aroma of almonds. It’s also found in apricots and cherries. What’s more, it’s closely related to toluene, which seems to make the previous chemical make more sense.
Found in broccoli, sweet peppers and pumpkins.
Mango Image: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos
Published data: Narain & Galvão (2002)
Wow… There was an international Mango symposium? Cool.