When folks gather in South America, you can bet there’s mate (pronounced MAH-tay) involved—unofficially the national drink of the region, including Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul and Uruguay. And now, guests at Four Seasons Resort Carmelo, Uruguay can sip mate like the locals at the resort’s Pura Restaurant, plus order it from the in-room dining menu.
Originated by the indigenous Guaraní natives, who first began drinking a tea made from the leaves of the yerba mate tree, popularity of this caffeinated drink spread thanks to the southern Brazilian Tupí people. Nearly 3,000 years later, you’ll find most Uruguayans carrying mate with them, stopping for fresh hot water from street vendors to refresh the drink usually stored in a thermos.
Tasting somewhat like a brew of freshly mown grass and slightly bitter, mate can be enjoyed hot or cold. Argentinians like it cold, for example, served in a hollowed out gord or cow horn and sipped through a metal bombilla (straw). We like mate paired with Bizcochitos — salty, cinnamon-sugar butter cookies with an anise flavour and nice spice kick.