Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.
The Meaning Of Mate In Argentina
During my visit to Argentina, I saw people everywhere carrying thermoses of hot water and mates, metal cup-like things with bombillas, which are the long metal straws poking out. In every shop and market you will also be able to find ornate mates for purchase. Luckily, I got to try mine with a local friend and learn more about what mate means to locals in Argentina.
"It's merely an infusion, but it has a huge meaning of sharing," explained my local friend Javier Viñuela, whose mother had prepared some mate for a group of us in her home. "As it usually happens with food, drinking mate is a way or excuse to share with friends and family."
Mate can either be taken bitter or sweet. For first-timers, I would recommend adding some sugar or honey, as the herbs can be quite pungent if you're not used to it. Moreover, being one of the last to sip it can also help to take out some of the bitterness, as by then the hot water has taken away some of the flavor's intensity.
During my first time trying it, I added sugar to help ease the bitterness. While the first few tastes were hard to swallow, once you get used to it the flavor is actually quite nice. Aside from sharing, there are other reasons people enjoy drinking mate. For one, many locals in Argentina find the drink delicious. Additionally, it's a cheap way of "having a drink" for a long period of time with friends. And for those on a diet or having digestion issues, mate is said to be a diuretic. For the best mate, I've heard from many locals that Rosamonte (pictured above) is the best brand.