Acai (ah-sigh-ee) is known in Brazil as the most nutritious, energy providing fruit. It grows in the lush floodplains of the Amazon River. Acai is a Brazilian berry original from the Amazon Region that is considered to be one of nature’s most complete and healthy foods. Acai is a palm tree that grows in the North of Brazil. It is known by the native people (indigenas) as “içá-çai”, which means “fruit that cries”. The Acai tree can be found all over the Amazonia region. To make Acai Roots, juice is extracted from the pulp of the skin of the seed. No trees are harmed in the process. For hundreds of years, acai (açaí) has been a traditional food of the native people of the Amazon – and part of its folklore, finding its way into legend as well as onto the table.
Acai has been enjoyed for decades by the people of Brazil. A bowl of Acai is usually eaten in the morning with breakfast. In the 1950’s, doctors began to realize the health benefits of Acai. In the 1960’s, the famous Gracie jiu-jitsu family recommended eating Acai before and after workouts. Recently, several new medical studies in the United States and Europe have found even more exciting health benefits of Acai. The Gracie Jiu-Jitsu family, considered the original masters of the blend, started blending this fruit with banana and a little guarana (a mild natural stimulant). Since then, it has gone from a training secret to a daily ritual for surfers and all health conscious people in Brazil. When I was in Brazil I was basically eating Acai all day long! It was love at first sight.
How do you make a Acai bowl or smoothie?
There is no set rule about how to make it. Everybody has their own way to do it. I have noticed that Brazilians prefer a thicker bowl, almost like a sorbet, made with a lot of frozen acai, a banana and maybe some guarana syrup. Some will add apple juice, cocnut water or papaya. Most non Brazilians make more of a smoothie-liquidy type drink (Acai is more expensive in the west obviously). Here is one example how Rolles Gracie, a true Carioca (inhabitant of Rio de Janeiro) likes his Acai Bowl.
How can you describe the taste? It is something like a mixture between a blueberry, red wine and dark chocolate.