It is the berry from the palmtree Euterpe oleracea that lately has gotten lot of interest around the world. Native to South and Middle America it is in Brazil it started to grow popular. The berry is very sensitive so it is either dried or frozen before it´s transported.
Açaí has long been consumed in the North of Brazil as a source of protein, it was Indians who started to prepare and eat it. The traditional way is to extract the juice from the fresh berries and then mix it with certain flours like tapioca and maybe meat, shrimp or fish. This is then eaten cold or at room temperature, salty or sweet. Many different qualities exist, the more watery the cheaper; fino is the cheapest, médio is in the middle and grosso the more expensive.
The latest fad is to it it cold as a sherbet sweetened with guaraná syrup and müsli. It was in the late 80´s this became popular, a new generation of health conscious young people and new foods and habits became popular. Japanese food, energy drinks and fruit juices soon was available all over Rio de Janeiro. It was also now this acai energizer became really popular, first in Rio but soon all over Brazil. Nowadays you can have açaí sherbet in Stockholm as well as in Tokyo. The quality used is usually médio.
It is not only very tasty and refreshing but also have good influence on your health. The West is getting more and more health conscious and this fact has for sure helped to make acai so popular around the world.
The beneficial traits are:
- high fibre content
- high on antioxidants
- has healthy omega fats
- has 8 of the 9 amino acids we need
- has vitamins
- has minerals like iron
- has electrolytes
Acai has also become a usual ingredient in so called nature medicines. Different mixes of different extracts and powders are supposed to give you a healthy boost. How much of the qualities of the fresh berry that remains is hard to say.
Hakan Almerfors is Swedish and has been living in Rio de Janeiro since 2003. He has been working with tourists ever since, in 2007 he created the Rio travel information site Gringo-Rio.com
If you want more information about acai or other fruits and berries from Brazil you can visit this page on his site: Acai , Guarana and other Brazilian Natural Medicines