As of this month, we’re selling açaí at Haven BJJ. In this blog we’ll give you a speed course into understanding açaí. This is a topic I’ve become an expert in over the years as açaí is one of my favorite snacks. 

Let’s start with the pronunciation: As-Sa-E and not AKAI! Now we got that out of the way: açaí is a berry from a palm that grows in and around the Amazon rainforest. It’s know for it’s anti oxididants and has been a staple for surfers and jiu jitsu athletes for many years. Mainly in Brazil, but of recent years also in the USA and in Europe. It’s eaten in a variety of different ways discussed in the paragraph below. 

There are basically three styles of açaí: açaí as a juice (seen in Rio de Janeiro), açaí as an ice cream (seen in São Paulo) and pure açaí (seen in the North). Juice açaí is the version that is popular in Rio de Janeiro and most often served in tournaments around the world. Its consistency is like that of a slush puppy and it’s mixed with Guarana syrup and water. Standard toppings are banana, strawberry, and granola. Many Rio juice bars serve versions with other juices mixed in, or even acai with protein powder. This is the style of açaí you’ll get at Oakberry.

The approach to açaí in São Paulo is quite different to that in Rio. In Rio açaí is seen as a healthy supplement. São Paulo’s açaí is seen and served as a type of ice cream. The acai is scoopable and is not only topped with fruit and granola, but also with things like condensed milk, chocolate balls, wafer rolls and paçoca (sweet peanut candy). 

Finally, my personal favorite: pure açaí . It’s a bit harder to come by, but worth the search. The actual pure açaí is eaten as a savory sauce for fish dishes in the north. A slightly sweetened version can be eaten with tapioca pearls (like flavorless mini popcorn). I’m aware of two places in Rio de Janeiro that serve this style of acai: Tacacá do Norte in Flamengo and Amazônia Soul in Ipanema. They are a bit more expensive than the normal Rio açaí , but very much worth it. 

At Haven BJJ we sell a high quality, Sao Paulo style açaí, complete with spoon and granola.

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