Maté drinking is the national pastime here, hot water thermos tucked under arm, cup and straw in opposite hand, green leaves packed tight in bowl. Traditionally, maté cups come as dried gourds, decorated or not, and straws are metal pipes with aerated bulb submerged in tea leaves to filter only the flavored infusion.
Given the prevalence and our slow introduction to the bitter morning beverage over the past few weeks, a maté cup seems the appropriate souvenir, even if more so for decoration than utilization, for, sadly, we realize that north of Patagonia, maté use declines and so do our chances of stocking up on necessary supplies.
Lucky for us, a few cups strike our fancy, the El Bolson artisans appealing to both of our aesthetics, me opting for an engraved gourd, Graham for fancy accoutrements and bamboo straw.
Pretty little maté cups, now, all we need is maté tea.