Twenty years ago hardly anyone would have recognized a single product on the Navitas Naturals website, aside from perhaps the cashews. But now, it reads like a who's who of superfoods. Goji, maca, chia, and one I had the pleasure of trying, Organic Acai Powder.
To start, here are a few facts about Acai from Navitas:
Acai is … "a small, dark purple berry which is the fruit of a native South American palm tree."
"Nutritionally, acai is considered a true antioxidant powerhouse, and is loaded with healthy monosaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The berries are also a great source of vitamin C, and posses many other micronutrients including polyphenols and flavonoids."
Okay, but how does it taste? I sampled a bit of the powder on its own, and it is kind of blah, for lack of a better word. There is some depth, yet no real identity. Navitas claims that the unsweetened mild flavor has hints of berries and chocolate. I didn't believe them at first, but once this unassuming powder is added to a recipe, it comes alive!
My first adventure was the Acai Fudge from Chef Julie Morris. It was amazing! Wonderfully sweet, and surprisingly fudgy … without a bit of chocolate added. I was in shock. I enjoyed it so much that I made a second batch … this time adding an ounce of ground cashews (also from Navitas) to mellow the sweetness and up that fudgy texture even a bit more and a handful of their Cacao Nibs. Both batches were delightful. (recipe below)
The acai powder also adds a deep and mellow flavor to smoothies that helped to tame a smoothie that was just a bit too sweet (my those bananas were ripe!). The acai powder is very light and fluffy, but it has almost a granular-sized texture. So as you can see, acai specks will dot smoothies, but they don't interfere with the smooth, drinkable texture, and do add a nice purple color. This version contains one frozen banana, a YouShake packet, 3/4 cup of unsweetened coconut milk beverage, and 1/2 tablespoon of acai powder (it was delicious!) …
Honestly, the only prohibitive factor I found about this product was the price. At $22 for 4 ounces ($32 for 8 ounces on Amazon, for a good discount), it doesn't strike me as an everyday ingredient. But, that little bag will last you for several recipes, which is a definite bonus.
- 1/2 cup Navitas Naturals freeze-dried acai powder
- 4-5 large pitted medjool dates*
- 1 Tablespoon melted cacao butter, coconut oil, or coconut butter [I used coconut butter from Artisana]
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Process until dates are fully incorporated with acai. [If you don't have a food processor (cough: guilty), you can actually combine the ingredients by hand once the dates are nice and softened]
Flatten the mixture into a large one inch thick rectangle. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. Cut into small squares and enjoy. For best results, keep refrigerated.
Alisa's Optional Add-Ins: 1 ounce of ground cashews and/or some sweet cacao nibs [I broke the larger nibs up, but you can leave them whole]
Yields 6 generous squares.
*These dates should be as soft and juicy as possible, if dates are drier, soak in water for 20 minutes prior to using in the recipe. If the fudge is still too dry, add a extra water, a teaspoon at a time, to get to a better consistency. If fudge is too wet, add additional acai.
This is a third party review by Alisa Fleming, author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide & Cookbook. For more information on this product and where to purchase it, see the Navitas Naturals Website. Navitas products are also sold at a discount on Amazon.