Respect the Flavors: Acai

One of Mochidoki’s core values is “Respect the Flavors.” In this series, we’ll explore the many ingredients and flavors featured in our mochi lineup, giving them the time, attention and respect they deserve. 

We’re excited to introduce Acai – the star ingredient of our latest seasonal mochi, Acai Cacao Crunch, now available in all our shops!

What is acai?

Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is a small dark purple fruit, approximately 1” in diameter, that looks like a grape and comes from South America. Because acai contains a pit like apricots and olives, it’s technically a stone fruit – or “drupe” – though it’s commonly referred to as a berry. 

The acai berry has a delicious tropical, naturally sweet taste. For thousands of years, it’s been a staple food in the Amazon region, becoming a popular export in the 1990’s.

Hailed in North America as a superfood, acai berries are packed with antioxidants, fiber and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Image courtesy of Britannica

Where does acai come from?

The acai fruit grows on the acai, “açaizeiro” palm tree, a species of palm tree (Arecaceae) native to the rainforests of the Amazon basin. 85% of all acai consumed globally comes from northern Brazil.

In the local language (Tupi), the name acai comes from the word ïwaca'i, meaning "[fruit that] cries” – some say in reference to the the juicy pulp of the acaizeiro’s coconuts, while others share the legend of a heartbroken mother’s tears that led to the discovery of the palm and its juicy berries. 

What does acai taste like?

With a flavor that’s a cross between blackberries and chocolate, acai has a more earthy flavor than other berries which tend to be sweeter. Descriptions of Acai range from “slightly tart with an earthy backbone” to notes of raspberry and pomegranate, tropical and refreshing.

How is acai used?

Once harvested, acai berries are soaked to soften the tough outer skin, the pip (stone) is removed, and then they’re mashed to form a dark purple paste.

It’s typically sold as frozen pulp, juice, or powder – in North America, acai is commonly sold in the form of "acai bowls", a combination of frozen acai puree or acai powder with other ingredients, such as nut milk, fruit juice, fruits, nuts, oatmeal, and sweeteners.  

At Mochidoki, we’re honoring the refreshingly tart acai berry by offering it as one of our featured seasonal flavors this spring.

Curious about the taste of acai  or already a fan? Try our Acai Cacao Crunch mochi! You’ll find it online, or you can pick some up to go in our UES or Soho shop. 

Mochidoki Mochi Ice Cream Acai Cacao Crunch

For more delicious acai recipes, click here!

“Respect the Flavors” is one of Mochidoki’s Core Values – you can read about all of our Core Values here and how they apply both to our very special mochi and all the equally special people on the Mochidoki team.