Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Like an Argentine cowboy ..."


Remember the old song "Rhinestone Cowboy"? I've been trying to make "Argentine cowboy" fit that tune, now that my sweet husband is the happy owner of a mate gourd and bombilla. I'd been wanting to try one of these sets forever, but, well, they're just not very pretty, are they? Interesting, to be sure, but I just couldn't see the Argentine cowboy's drinking vessel and metal straw sitting alongside all my English bone china teacups.

Then one day, my husband happened to mention that he thought it might be kind of cool to drink mate, an herbal tea, from one of the mate gourds like the cowboys in Argentina. (He'd seen them on National Geographic or something, I think.) Well then! Now I had an excuse to purchase a mate gourd! And so last week, I was buying some tea at Teavana in Atlanta and decided it was time for DH to get his mate gourd and bombilla.


I've heard mate described as "the coffee lover's tea," and since my husband is the big coffee drinker in the family, I figured this was a good thing. I purchased some mate I had tried at another area tea shop before, tea I made using just a regular tea filter: Mate Vana, which is described as "a deliciously smooth blend of toasted Yerba Mate, almond bits, crushed cocoa beans, cactus blossoms, sunflower and cornflower petals." Only as the store clerk was boxing up my items did she mention I would need to "cure" the gourd, which basically involves letting it soak up water for a day and scraping out any leftover bits of material inside the gourd. The only problem we've found so far is a bit of a leak, but I've read this may solve itself in two or three more days of use. We'll see. But for now, I'm just happy we've added another tea experience (and some new teawares) to this household.

1 comment:

Claire Smith said...

Hello:

I've read with great interest everything that you've written about the "mate". I'll give you some advises: 1) to cure the gourd you mustn't use soap, what you've to do is to fill the gourd with two spoons of sugar and to add a burning coal, then you shake carefully the gourd in order to melt the sugar, and that's it; 2) to make a very Argentine cowboy tasted mate you've to use the yerba mate along with or not adding sugar. You can also add coffee; orange or lemon peel. Then you stir hot water. Another version is the "Terere", in this ocassion you add cold water ( you use ice) mixed with sugar and lemon juice.
I hope that this can help you to enjoy the "Mate".
Have a nice day.
Claire.