Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Taste of Brazil: Acai

There are so many reasons to travel; for history, for the weather, beautiful beaches, sports, cities, landscape. I travel because I want to know it all; I want to experience the entire culture, the fabric and being of a land. I want to see it, smell it, hear it and above all taste it.

Ask me about the food in Brazil, ask anyone about it and they will or at least should say;

“Acai! Acai! Acai!”

Pronounced (a, sa’i)

I had never heard of it before being in Brazil but apparently this little black purple berry is a hot commodity back home and it’s marketed as a super fruit that helps with weight loss and is packed with antioxidants. This I find strange, just as strange as how everyone back home pronounces it, as it is packed with sugar!

I was first introduced to Acai in Sao Paulo, my traveling partner "The Other Tracy" made plans to meet up with a Brazilian friend of hers that she met in Chile a few years back. He picked us up in his car and gave us of a tour of Sao Paulo’s alternative night scene before going to this out of the way fruit stall. It was quite large and busy with bright lights shining down on wooden tables in the middle of the night packed with people awaiting their orders of Acai…Acai?!? What the heck is Acai? We had yet to hear of this. Grace our third party in Florianopolis may have mentioned something but we didn’t pay much attention.

Then it came... in a heaping bowl, it was sort of like a bright purple sorbet made from a little berry called Acai that comes from the Amazon. You get a package of granola with it to sprinkle on top and slices of banana. There on that night in Sao Paulo started our addiction, our love and our passion for this most amazing Brazilian treat.

From that night on we knew what the rest of the world didn’t about this fruit. We knew what the vendors were doing when they would walk up and down the beaches in little Speedos yelling into a megaphone, “ Acai! Acai! Acai!” We knew the furry of a late night fruit stall. So no matter what the rest of the world is trying to market this fruit as here in Brazil it full of sugar, it is a meal replacement, it is a coffee replacement, it is an addiction, it is delicious, it is a smile on a hot day and it is Brazil.

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