It’s impossible to ignore the hype over acai (formally written as açaí and pronounced ah-sah-EE, in case you were wondering). Plucked from 60-foot tall trees in Brazil’s Amazon River basin, these purplish, antioxidant-rich stone fruits — healthy-eating neophytes and the less precise among us will call them berries — are the It ingredient in that oh-so-Instagram-worthy superfoodie/vegan staple, the acai bowl. (As with most “super” produce, you can also drink acai as a juice or slather it on your face in the form of anti-aging cream.)
For those somehow unfamiliar, an acai bowl is a one-dish meal that includes a base of puréed acai topped with some combination of the following: diced fruit, nuts, seeds, granola, dark chocolate. Of course, there is room for experimentation — any fresh, natural, texture and nutrient-adding sweet is fair game. On the texture front, the blend resembles ice cream. It’s kind of like eating a guilt-free, extremely filling and slightly less sexy sundae.
But what it lacks in actual dairy cream, the acai bowl makes up for in health benefits and Insta-bragging rights, made more tempting by high production value. Whether they’re dining at home or feeding the health-conscious public, acai bowl enthusiasts tend to treat their creations like fine art. They pay painstaking attention to composition and color, layering and balancing their raw materials. Bright, fresh fruits are fanned into floral patterns (some accented by actual flowers), seeds and nuts sprinkled in precise diagonals. Cradling the final product is some sort of artisanal bowl, be it a repurposed flowerpot or hollowed-out coconut shell. In short, they’re total Insta-bait.
Whether you’re seeking inspiration for your own acai bowl masterpiece (many store-bought versions contain upwards of 60 grams of sugar per bowl, so kids, do try this at home), in the market for new acai bowl recipes (variety is key in maintaining one’s interest in non-fried meals) or simply in the mood for some mouth-watering superfood porn, click through the gallery above for 20 acai bowls that are almost too gorgeous to gorge on.