An açai bowl can come in various sizes and flavors (we should know, we’ve tried them all). But, when it comes down to the basics, it’s all about the actual açai berry. This superfruit is known to pack a nutritional punch with every bite and they’re high in antioxidants. It’s the base (pun intended) of Playa Bowls, and what inspired our founders, Robert Giuliani and Abby Taylor, to build a national community of endless summer chasers.
Learn all about açai from the experts: our founders.
What destinations in particular did you experience the best acai?
Robert Giuliani: I experienced açaí for the first time about 15 years ago in California, then it became a big part of my life about 10 years ago on surf trips to Puerto Rico.
Abby Taylor: In California in 2011. I was there for the winter and açai was on every corner. So many little shacks and bodegas offering their versions of açai bowls. I would go to this little Brazilian deli and I remember their açai was so delicious. They only offered one bowl and it was very classic, similar to our 8th Ave. Bowl. Also, a little spot in Puerto Rico also had a great açai bowl that really just reiterated my love and obsession for açai bowls at that time.
Describe how acai bowls differed by destination.
RG: The one big difference I saw in bowls throughout our travels was the quality of fruit. Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, they always had the most delicious fresh fruit.
AT: Everyone has their own take on an açai bowl. How thick the acai is blended, what it is blended with, what it is topped with. I agree with Rob that the freshness of different fruits on different islands and countries around the world make or break the bowl. This really did push us at Playa Bowls to really always use the highest quality ingredients.
Did you get to taste it raw and unprocessed?
RG: Yes, it tastes like dirt! That’s why we have formulated our açaí bowl with the right amount of sweetness to bring out the true flavor of açaí.
AT: Açai is naturally very bitter and earthy tasting, which is not the best. But sweeten it up a little and add delicious toppings and honey or peanut butter and it turns into a magical thing.
Before you experienced acai firsthand, what were your thoughts about it?
RG: When I first saw an açaí bowl I laughed as this old surfer dude was plowing through a pile of purple mush in a bowl. I chalked it up to free spirited Cali people eating their healthy dishes that taste like kale. But when I took a bite, it was love at first taste .
AT: I really did not know too much about açai. I have always been into health and fitness so I knew that it had anti aging health benefits and that it was purple, and kind of looked like a blueberry. Little did I know that a tiny little berry would change my life forever!
What is a common misconception about açai?
RG: Everyone always says it is loaded with sugar and blah blah blah. Wrong. It is actually one of the only fruits in the world that has 0 grams of natural cane sugar. We add a very small amount (less than what is in a banana or apple) to bring the flavors out .
AT: I think people think all açai and all açai bowls are the same. But not all bowls are created equally! We have handcrafted our açai to be the best tasting açai in the game. We also use a higher amount of pulp in our açai (the edible skin of the berry that surrounds a large seed) which offers even more health benefits. We continue to prove that our menu is unlike any other açai shops by using amazing ingredients.
What’s your favorite part about açai?
RG: How unique the flavor of this fruit is and how delicate it is. It’s so special that it comes from one of the most amazing places in the world, the Amazon.
AT: I love that it never makes you feel weighed down. An açai bowl fills you up and gives you a little boost of energy at any time of the day. After I eat a bowl I feel refreshed and satisfied. It also tastes amazing with peanut butter!
From one to 140+ locations. You could say you’re kind of the açai experts.
RG: “Where we are going, we don’t need spoons.” There are lots of exciting things happening in Pineappleland and we cannot wait to keep innovating and changing the game every day . Stay tuned
AT: We will continue to strategically open stores across the country. We want people to experience our love for açai in an epic environment, which is Playa Bowls! Welcome to Pineappleland.
Enjoy your own slice of summer. Order an açai bowl today and experience the berry that started it all.