Ever since I saw our G Adventures Chief Experience Officer Kris drinking an odd concoction earlier in our tour, I wanted to learn more about it. Today, Kris shared it with me.

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Mate (pronouced Mattay) is an Argentinian drink of bitter green tea and a social ritual. The drink is really quite delicious if you like green tea. The Mate cup is traditionally made from a hollowed gourd (squash) but is now also made of wood or tin.

When in a group, the youngest person is in charge of preparing the drink, placing the dried leaves into the cup, and ensuring the placement of leaves and amount of water are just right for the best taste. Then, a metal straw is placed in it. The preparer of the drink takes the first sip to ensure they have the first, most bitter taste. Then, it is passed around the group. When accepting the drink, it should be with two hands and the straw should never move as you sip it. When you are finished, you say “Gracias” and the cup rotates around the group.

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This can continue as more water is needed (the youngest in the group always in charge), and as the group is satisfied with their Mate.

I really love the sentiment aorund this ritual, but didn’t think that I would want to buy a Mate cup to bring home. But, I walked into an artisan store in El Calafate yesterday and the charming owner explained he had made a Mate cup just for the Pope! It was really beautiful, and if it’s good enough for the Pope, it’s good enough for me! Kris called it the “Holy Mate.”

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Gracias for the Mate, Kris!

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