We’ve discovered Mate and it’s becoming part of our everyday life.
Mate is a traditional South America infused drink, which is popular in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Southern Bolivia, particularly the Chaco.
You prepare it by pouring hot water into a Mate cup almost filled with dried leaves of Mate herb. Traditionally Mate is served in a hollow calabash gourd or wooden cup which is bound in leather and decorated with silver. You drink the Mate tea through a Bombilla which is a metal straw which acts as a sieve and straw.
Drinking Mate is a very social activity that you enjoy with family or friends. The same Mate cup and Bombilla is used by everyone. The custom of sharing the drink adds to the companionship of the occasion.
The Mate cups are a work of art in themselves and come in varies sizes and designs and are made from a variety of materials.
Some are hollowed out gourds, others carved from wood, and perhaps the more modern types are from turned alloys or leather with plastic inserts. Everyone has their own view about which is the best, but I suspect that most will favour the traditional gourds.
For all my friends out there I know what you are thinking… But just relax. You can have your own Bombilla (straw) to use when you come to my house.