Açai: My New Favorite Food

Açaí. The word alone makes my mouth water. For those who aren’t aware, açaí is a dark berry that grows on the açaí palm tree, found in the Amazonian region of Brazil.

In Rio, açaí is always served as a bebida (drink), not comida (food).  Açaí de tigela is a very popular drink here; it’s basically a smoothie, composed of frozen açaí, guarana syrup (there comes the sugar!) and granola, bananas or other fruits.  It. is. delicious. My favorite is nuts on top, which I had yesterday..

Açaí de tigela
Açaí de tigela

In Rio, you can find açaí more easily than you can find water – and that is no exaggeration! It’s everywhere. Yesterday, I was at one of the universities in Rio, PUC, and noticed that there was even a bar for just açaí.  Apparently this is a pretty popular addiction…

Açaí bar at one of the universities in Rio
Açaí bar at one of the universities in Rio

And the best part about açaí is that you don’t have to feel guilty eating it (minus all the added sugar..oh right) – in its purest form though, it is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, with an enormous amount of antioxidants, amino acids and important fatty acids.  It’s also a very powerful anti-aging food.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, açaí is only generally available in frozen form; and the frozen pulp is only really good when combined with sugar (I can attest to this). While I always try to avoid added sugar…this is one drink that seems to be worth it.

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