08 September 2008

My First Mate Calabaza, Bombilla + Yerba

Every country has its own unique right of passage. In Germany, you have to drink ale, jab your fork into phallic-looking sausages and get lost on the S-Bahn. In Azerbaijan, you have to ride a маршутка and drink chai until your bladder explodes and you become a puddle of lost pride. In Peru, you have to eat arroz con mariscos in a dirty restaurant and drink a Pisco Sour in the blazing sun. Well, in Argentina you have to drink yerba mate from a calabaza (gourd) using a bombilla (metal filtering straw). You get extra points for burning your lips or taking one for the team and willfully swallowing the first mouthful of freshly-brewed yerba since it's extremely bitter unless you add tepid water. Another great part of the mate ceremony is that the vast majority of yerba missions are small and family-owned. The stuff I bought was fancy organic nectar from The Saint Ignatius Mission, right in the little sliver of Argentina in the East that borders Brazil. I've already tried it and it's simply delicious. Well, after the first few gulps, I mean. Now, I feel like I am finally living in Buenos Aires. I've been to Confitería Ideal, I've devoured a million empanadas, I'm can bust out a little lunfardo slang and a lot of sheismo like a motherfucker. And now I can hit the Yerba Mate connection too. Ah, this is the life! Cheers, chicos.


stilllifeinbuenosaires said...

Do you like your mate with or without sugar?

In Misiones, they drink a special concoction called "téréré" that combines sweet citrus pop with mate for the hot sunny days.

Glad to hear you're settling in comfortably.

Señora Capone said...

Looks like you are well on your way...ps, the gourd is called a poronga. Did you cure it first?

chicorico70 said...

Hey, a friend just gave me a gourd matero, and it still has the dried flesh inside with a few seeds. Am I supposed to scrape that out first, or just go ahead and pour in the hot water with yerba and drink away?

chicorico70 said...

Oh, I'm putting this here so that if you leave a response, I will be notified by email. I don't think I selected that for my comment!