Rua Teixeira de Melo, 37
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
So we consider ourselves at this point to be (sort of) açaí experts, but we were totally floored by our completely different experience at Amazônia Soul in Ipanema, right off of Praça General Osório. Northern açaí is completely different from its Southern variety since the emphasis is on pure açaí flavor. Amazônia Soul is a store concept from the northern state of Pará – and along with delicious Northern-style açaí – it also has a selection of typical Northern dishes including tacacá, crab and maniçoba and Nothern-style feijoada. Don’t forget to wash your meal down with a Guaraná Jesus – a popular regional soda brand. The store itself is very inviting – with a distinctive abstract frog mascot (we think it is a frog) and a little shop inside selling Amazonian products including jarred sweets, ceramics, stoneware and jewelry.
Value: 0/5 Our pequena small bowl was definitely less than 500 mL (we think it was 300 mL), and it was extremely expensive. Total: R$ 16. We had a little bit of sticker shock on this one.
Taste: 12/15. Amazônia Soul presented us with the purest açaí flavor yet. Northern style açaí is simply açaí and ice, instead of an açaí/berry/ice blend which we have come to learn is standard at most Zona Sul places. The taste of pure açaí is extremely strong, and not necessarily sweet, so it is typical to add your own sugar to the bowl. At Amazônia Soul you are given sugar packets to sweeten things up.
Texture: 10/10. Perfectly smooth, this açaí did not melt at all. It also seemed like there was less ice in this formulation – which means less melting.
Granola: 5/5. In this case the topping was not granola at all – but a bowl of puffed tapioca – which is standard for Northern-style açaí. There was a surcharge for the toppings of $R 2. Though we think we prefer granola over tapioca, we felt we had to go for the authentic experience.
Extras: 5/5. There was a nice indoor seating area, along with wooden tables outside. A plus – we got two spoons on the first try.
TOTAL: 32/40 – Again the value hurt them, but there was a narrow lead.