There are no hard and fast rules about what you can and can’t put in an acai bowl, but I just want to make one thing clear – there’s a big difference between an açaí bowl and a smoothie bowl.
What’s the difference between an açaí bowl and a smoothie bowl?
The origin of smoothie bowls and açaí bowls are completely different. Smoothies come from Mediterranean and Eastern cultures and are made from pureed fruit mixtures. They became popular in America after electrical appliances such as the refrigerator and blender became available. Smoothies are traditionally drunk from a cup but somewhere along the lines they got transferred to a bowl.
The açaí bowl comes from the Amazon in Brazil, which is where açaí berries are still grown today. Açaí berries are bright purple in colour and are a staple part of the local Amazonian diet. The local berry became incredibly popular throughout the rest of Brazil and today is eaten all over the world. People love to put açaí in bowls and smoothies. The açaí bowl differs in texture to a smoothie bowl as it’s more of the consistency of a sorbet. It should be thick, creamy and very cold.
Why are açaí bowls so popular?
You’ve probably seen a ton of photos on Instagram of people eating açaí bowls at trendy cafes and it’s not hard to see why when you look at them. Açaí bowls are usually made up of a variety of different fruits that make them look aesthetically pleasing to the eye. They’re a nice alternative to toast or eggs for breakfast and they’re not hard to make.
The açaí bowl base
Before you start making your açaí bowl, a good tip is to leave the bowl in the freezer overnight. It makes your açaí bowl taste just that little bit better and it’s the same logic as when you go to a nice restaurant and they’ve warmed up your plates before they serve you dinner.
So let’s have a look at what makes up an açaí bowl base. You want the right combination of sweetness but without being overwhelming and having a variety of flavours so it’s not just all fruit.
The most important base of any açaí bowl is – the acai. You can usually find it in the frozen fruit section of your supermarket. If you’re a café or a restaurant owner, you can find wholesale frozen açaí online. You can break it up in the packet by using your hands or a sharp knife to make it easier when you put it in the blender.
Nut milk / Coconut Water
Depending on your preferences add just enough nut milk or coconut water to make sure your blender cuts through the acai but not too much. We don’t want the end product too runny.
Dates can add more sweetness to an açaí bowl but it can also give it a more full-bodied flavour.
Banana, blueberries and mango
These three fruits can give your açaí bowl a thicker base. Mango can also add a gooey texture to your bowl (which is a good thing!)
There are so many other things you can add to your açaí bowl base, we’ve just told you about a few. Experiment with different ingredients until you find the right bowl base for you. When you’re ready, blend all the ingredients together until the texture is rich, creamy and cold!
Açaí bowl toppings
So now that you have your base, it’s time to add the toppings. Again, there are an infinite combination of açaí bowl toppings and you’re only limited by your imagination. Here are a few popular açaí bowl toppings.
Star fruit, kiwi fruit, strawberries, etc.
These fruits are great because they are both sweet and sour. Given that your açaí bowl base is on the sweeter side, you’ll want to balance it out with some sour flavour.
Nuts add a nice crunch to your bowl, plus they’ll give you lots of energy for the day ahead.
You’ve already got tropical flavours going on so why not add some coconut flakes?
I hope this guide has helped give you some great ideas of how you can make a great açaí bowl. Remember, the mixture shouldn’t be soupy, otherwise it’s become a smoothie. If you’re having trouble getting the right balance, there are a number of videos online with helpful tips.