It is impossible to travel in Argentina and never try the maté! More than a food adventure, it is a social experience.
To enjoy the maté, you need a gourd or maté (which is basically the “cup”), a bombilla (the “straw”), the Yerba (the herb) and hot water (but not too hot, only 70 degrees Celsius). Argentinian people would also add a bunch of friends!
The maté is very popular in Argentina where they drink it everywhere and every time! We were really amazed by the number of groups of people sitting in a park, on the beach, even in the street, drinking maté all day long!
We learned about the gaucho culture which is slightly different as they have it only first thing in the morning before doing anything and just after work in the afternoon.
The ceremony has a ton of rules that you need to learn if you don’t want to offend the maté master (yes, there is always a master taking care of the herb, the hot water and the tour between the participants). It was really interesting to learn about them and to practice a little bit.
Concerning the maté itself (the gourd), you can find some in wood, in metal, in plastic and in calabaza (calabash). The Yerba can be bitter, soft, mixed with citrus fruits. We had a lot of fun trying the different settings and tastes.
Maybe we will try together at home!