Ciao! I’m Yurick. Welcome to Yerba Mate in Italy 101
In 1983, I was born in Ventimiglia; the first seaside Italian town after France in the Northwest of Italy. So, I am 35 years old. I moved to Genoa in 2011, where I currently live with my girlfriend, Laura, and our 2 dogs and 4 cats. In fact, my passions are animals, politics, music, freemasonry, and obviously yerba mate!
I work in a Carrefour supermarket. When I’m not doing that, I manage (along with 2 friends) the facebook memes and vaporwave page: “Genowa.” I have always been involved with political activities and have always loved multicultural society. I am internationalist, but with a strong respect and curiosity for traditions all over the world. My dream was to become anthropologist, and I studied a lot about different cultures, tribes, rituals.
Drinking Yerba Mate like Che Guevara
A few years ago, I was in the supermarket where I work and we received a shipment of Amanda and Taragüi Yerba Mate. I had always seen the photos of Che drinking mate in Sierra Maestra, and always wondered what yerba mate tasted like. So, remembering that my dad had a traditional Argentinian mate – algarrobo inside, alpaca outside bought near Iguazu – I started to try drink mate. I loved it so much that (like everything I love) I studied everything about yerba mate: history, cultivations, preparations and the differences between blends from country to country.
Currently, I have 2 calabazas, 2 cuias, a porcelain mate, an alpaca mate and a small horn guampa for refreshing tererè in the summer. In terms of bombillas and Brazilian bombas, I have about ten. I also have a self-made “vira mate,” a spatula to prepare chimarrão in my largest engraved cuia, and obviously a water thermometer and a professional thermos with “pico cebador.”
Finding Yerba Mate in Italy
Fortunately, in Genoa we have a lot of places where we can buy mate because we have a huge Latin American community. Also because a lot of Genoeses (or Italians, in general) moved from Genoa to Latin American countries in Big Crisis years.
However, it’s not easy to find Brazilian erva mate for chimarrão. Chimarrão is a new discovery for me, but I like it a lot. I can say it’s my favourite mode of drinking mate. I like its grassy taste and green colour. So I established a friendly relationship with the Meta Mate team of Berlin. They were so kind to me, so human, that I decided stock up on them when I needed accessories and Brazilian erva. My favourite “industrial” yerbas are Argentina’s Nobleza Gaucha and Brazil’s Barao de Cotegipe. If I need something stronger, I also drink La Tranquera. For high-quality chimarrão erva, I love Meta Mate’s Moonshine Mate.
I drink mate 1-3 times a day; an Argentinian one in the morning or afternoon, and chimarrão in the evening. I drink when I need to concentrate, and despite mate’s caffeine, I can also relax before going to sleep or after dinner. Unfortunately, I can’t have a cebada or a roda with my friends, or girlfriend, because no one of them likes yerba mate.
It’s also important to note that in the deep south of Italy, there is an ancient Albanian community called “arbereshe” that traditionally drinks yerba mate because of people that moved to Latin America and imported this custom. They also have a localized association called “Mate Academy” in the city of Lungro. I contact them and I am waiting for some collaboration.
Spreading Yerba Mate in Italy
I found the Facebook group Yerba mate & chimarrao fans ITALIA and the Instagram profile @clubdelmate_italia as discussion forums; platforms where people can realize that there are a lot of materos and materas in Italy. Through doing this, I hope to create a real Mate Club embryo that one day could grow and expand all over Italy. I wrote to all typical potential yerba drinkers communities in Italy (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia) and our followers are growing day by day. The only thing I want to underline is that my YERBA MATE ITALIA is not a commercial project. I do not sell anything; I am only a cebador, a mate lover like many others, but with the difference that I noticed that in my country there are not wonderful communities like “Clube do Mate” (that I love and respect so much) and I have the desire to create one from nothing.