I was sent frozen acai pulp by post from a company called Acaiteria who are based in Bournemouth, UK. The package arrived via next day delivery, contents were still semi frozen.
Bournemouth, UK, based Acaiteria (www.acaiteria.co.uk) offered me the opportunity to test out their frozen acai pulp ordering service. I have eaten acai many times - mainly when attending BJJ tournaments and events. The acai served up by such stalls tends to be sweetened and mixed with other ingredients. The acai being offered by Acaiteria was the freshly pulped and frozen fruit with nothing else added. I was curious to see how they manage to keep the posted product cool while being transported overnight.
There are many claims to the benefits of acai berry - you can read more about the plant on its Wikipedia page. Personally I'm skeptical of the alleged superior nutritional value over and above other (so called super) fruits, such as blueberries. However, it's a very popular substance among the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community and is viewed as all part of the whole 'jiu jitsu lifestyle' thing.
The Acaiteria website is fairly simple to navigate, as long as you don't mind all the animated banners and picture panels. Acai is the main part of their business but customers can also order goji berries and other dry snacks.
The pricing seems a bit confusing. The lead title on the Acai page states that it costs £1.55. But if you scroll down to actually tick which sample size you want, the prices are much higher. For example, ordering a 1.5Kg pack costs £21.70. When you go to the checkout, it adds the two sums together for the total. I presume the initial quoted £1.55 is postage, or a minimum spend fee? As I say, it's slightly confusing but probably more a quirk of the cart system they use.
Frozen acai by post
I was informed by the Acaiteria owners that my package would arrive the next day before 1pm. I asked for the package to be delivered to my office and sure enough, at 1pm the postman delivered the acai.
The parcel was tightly packaged within a poly-envelope. When I opened it all out, the contents included the acai plus goji berries surrounded by a small re-freezable ice bag and a thick wadding of wool (top photo). Despite being shipped overnight using the UK postal service, I was surprised to note the acai was still semi-frozen and cold to the touch.
In the photo above you can see the acai pulp is stored inside a sealed plastic pouch. All contents are then wrapped inside a freezer bag with the re-freeze pouches which act as further insulation. The owner of Acaiteria informed me to store the acai in the freezer immediately. It was perfectly ok to do this, even with a fully thawed package as long as it is done on the day of arrival. Alternatively, the acai can be used to blend into a smoothie, which can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. The owner seemed very well informed and responded to all my nagging questions.
I opened one pouch and sampled the acai and stored the rest in the office freezer. The pulp is mixed with water so is quite runny straight out of the pack. I've never tasted unadalterated acai before - when I did I was surprised how bland and unremarkable it was compared to the natural sweetness of common berries. I certainly wouldn't eat it neat.
For my first proper try of the pulp, I mixed it with granola, goji berries, banana, blueberries and strawberries to form the acai bowl in the photo below. It tasted utterly delicious. The initial blandness of the pulp is actually a blessing - it compliments the natural sweetness of other fruits. Certainly one of my healthier and more satisfying office lunches!
With the remaining acai pouches, I aim to blend them with other ingredients to make smoothies, which is where I think the pulp is more suited to using.
Thanks to Acaiteria for supplying me with the product and providing a very excellent service.