Argentina Hearts Mate
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Argentina Hearts Mate
Being the most popular and widely practiced national custom in Argentina, mate is to Argentines what tea is to the British or what Guinness is to the Irish. The term mate doesn’t mean ‘mate’ in the friend sense, but is in fact pronounced ma-té and is a stimulating hot drink, similar to tea or a herbal infusion. Upon visiting one of Buenos Aires’ many parks and plazas you’ll soon witness the mate tradition in action. Argentines love nothing more than to share a mate with friends in the local park. This herbal drink infusion isn’t just popular in Argentina, but it is consumed across many countries of Latin America, including, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, parts of Chile and Paraguay, with each country serving it differently. In Argentina, mate is served hot from a rounded cup, or gourd, and drank though a metal, sometimes silver, straw.
If you want to find out more information about the history, culture and traditions of mate then Argentina Travel Planet recommends that you head to the Museum of Mate in Tigre. You’ll find this fascinating museum just minutes from Tigre train station, which you can get to in under an hour from Retiro railway station in downtown Buenos Aires. The museum boasts a 2000 piece collection of mate artefacts that will aid you in your understanding of mate and its popularity. The museum’s collection is housed in a lovely, quaint little building that has 5 display rooms, an auditorium with informative videos, as well as a cafe in the garden.
The exposition of pieces includes rare mate memorabilia that is not found anywhere else in the world. For instance, the Museum of Mate houses the smallest mate gourd in the world, crystal gourds and mate straws plus, the first ever flask in the world. The museum also has specialised guides on hand to answer your questions and queries.
If you have never tried mate before and wouldn’t know where to start then don’t worry. In the museum’s ‘Matebar’ cafe you’ll be shown how to prepare, serve and drink mate, which is something of an essential life skill in you’re planning on staying in Argentina a while. In the matebar, you will also get the chance to try the museum’s homemade, traditional, criollo cakes.
The Museum of Mate is another of the many and varied tourist attractions that Tigre has to offer visitors. Learning about something that is such an important part of Argentine culture would be a great activity to schedule into your day out in Tigre.