Hi my Inside-Out Beauties!
Last week I shared a picture of my brand new pink "mate" on Instagram, and of course it wasn't long until the question "What is that?!" came up.
Well, I guess you could quickly say "Mate" is to Argentinians as tea is to an English person.
"Mate" is a traditional Argentinian infusion or drink prepared from steeping dried leaves of "yerba mate".
Though we call it yerba in Spanish ("herb" in English), these leaves actually come from a tree and not an herbaceous plant.
What's really particular about this beverage, is that we serve with a straw from a hollow calabash gourd, that in my case as a metal pink paint coat. Now that straw is not just any straw, it is metal and has a little filter or holes on its end so that we don't drink the the dried leaves, as we take a sip.
Besides the many health benefits of drinking mate, one of the things that differentiate it from any other infusions all around the world, is that it is meant to be shared.
Yes! Of course you CAN have mate by yourself if you don't happen to have anyone around you, but it was traditionally intended to be drunk on a social setting. For breakfast or in the afternoons, when you're with friends or family gatherings. One person, who assumes the role of server, will be the one adding hot water to the mate, and then passing it on to the next person.
Now, I understand that sharing the same straw sounds gross for many people. But this is something you share mostly with people you know and it's one of those things like eating chocolate Easter eggs... a tradition intended to share a moment and talk!
And, as I said you can always have it on your own. My husband is more of a coffee person so I find myself drinking mate on my own many sometimes.
♥ STEP 1 ! Go shopping for a calabash gourd (we also call it mate), a straw and Yerba Mate.
♥ STEP 2 ! Fill about 3/4 of your calabash gourd with Yerba Mate.
♥ STEP 3 ! Use a kettle to heat some water... but be careful! Contrary to tea, the water for mate shouldn't be boiling, or it will burn the dried leaves (or Yerba). The ideal temperature is right before the water starts to boil.
♥ STEP 4 ! Then pour the hot water into a thermic bottle. If you like you can add sugar or low calorie sweetener to it
♥ STEP 5 ! Add water to your calabash gourd with "yerba mate", and start sharing!
♥ STEP 6 ! Repeat step 5 as many times as you want to :)
(Just as a side note, this also happens to be Pope Frances/Francesco/Francisco's favorite beverage, being also Argentinian).
Hope you enjoyed this post, and learned something new from a different culture.
If you're interested, I might write another post on the Health Benefits of this infusion.
Just let me know in the comments below.
See you on Twitter , as always!