Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fruit of the Day: Açai

It wouldn't have been a trip to Brazil without sampling some açai. Açai isn't available fresh - apparently the berries don't last for much more than 24 hours after they're harvested, so they're processed (frozen or freeze-dried) immediately after they're picked. In Brazil, açai is readily available frozen as açai na tigela, though, which simply means açai in a bowl. The options for açai na tigela are plentiful: You can get it mixed with any one of another delicious fruit, and/or topped with fruit salad, sliced bananas, or granola.

We had açai na tigela twice. The first time was at a salad/juice bar along the coast in Salvador, where we ordered it blended with mango. The medium-sized bowl was huge, and came with a little packet of granola to pour on top. The second time was at a mall in Brasília, where we ordered it with sliced bananas and granola on top. I also sampled the frozen açai pulp (it overpowered any other fruit with which I mixed it) and a drink called Guaraviton, a soft drink that's a blend of guaraná (yet another fruit) and açai. (Straight-up guaraná is a popular soda flavour in Brazil. It apparently has more caffeine than Coke, and tastes a lot like cream soda. I love it.)

As I mentioned, açai na tigella is served frozen, like sherbet, and is very dark purple. It almost tastes like frozen raspberries, or like a blend of berries - in other words, it's delicious! We both preferred the second bowl, sans mango, which may have been in part because it was garnished with a piece of papaya in the shape of a heart. I certainly can't confirm any weight-loss claims made by proponents of açai, but that may be because açai was often sold right next to irresistable Brazilian pão de queijo (cheese bread).
UFF Fruit Rating:

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