A delicious gourd of Yerba Mate

Mate, A Bridge Between Two Cultures

Version in Español

From Argentina to France

One of the most interesting things about being Argentine and married to a Frenchman is the cultural exchange. The fact of discovering things of all kinds, simple or complex, of the other, of your country, of your world especially when you live under the same roof and you have to combine both parties to bring a little of each to the home.

One of the first things I told my husband about Argentina was mate, our drink par excellence, and that I had not drank for a long time because when I moved to France, I had not brought it with me for fear of not getting yerba and that it would be adornment or occupying space.

I told him that in my country, mate is one of the traditions most deeply rooted in culture. It is present in almost all families, who take it bitter, sweet, cold, hot or sugary. Without a doubt, my husband, Emmanuel, did not understand much about this strange object for him, which he’d never heard. He concluded that it was a kind of “giant pipe” (due to the shape of some mates) that is prepared with a “green powder” and drunk all the time.

My husband enjoying a mate in Europe
My husband enjoying a mate in Europe

Discovering the roots of mate

A few months later, we visited Argentina. Emmanuel not only had greatly improved his Spanish, but he had also decided to learn how to prepare a good mate and thus give a good first impression to my dad and my brother. I was happy to discover my country, which is so distant and mysterious to him, was something he was passionate about travel to, while also being nervous about introducing himself to the rest of the family whom he had only seen in photographs.

While encounters with a political family can be complicated, we were lucky that everything went well (between mate and mate, of course); everyone was delighted with his French accent and his frank smile.  Even as a birthday present, Emmanuel received a thermos, sugar jar, yerba, bombilla and the famous rounded pumpkin or mate pumpkin, plus a preparation lesson that my mom gave him, since she’s a big fan of it.

It should be noted that when he returned to France, he was both wondering and wanting to share a bit of our Argentina nationality, which led him to prepare empanadas for his friends while also showing off his mate skills.

A delicious gourd of Yerba Mate
A delicious gourd of Yerba Mate

Companion of routes and adventures

Today, in our house, we usually prepare matecitos to enjoy the winter weekends. Or, as we travel a lot, the mate has became an indispensable companion of route that has traveled almost the same kilometers as us. And not only that, but Emmanuel has become a sort of mate publicist who loves to be asked by the people on the street what it is, and if they can try, giving the perfect footing for a proud explanation of this Argentine classic that he discovered thanks to his wife.

Personally, I love being able to share my culture and see how the person I love marvels at my country and traditions while I, at the same time, discover his. I often photograph our experiences in France on Instagram: @diariamente_coty