Culture

This page will be dedicated to provide information regarding customs and such to help you understand events, foods, etc. mentioned in our blog.

Mandioca | Yerba Mate | Mate | Cocido


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Mandioca (Cassava or Yuca)



Mandioca (Manihot esculenta), is a very starchy root, kind of like a potato but harder, also called yunca. Native to South America and is a required staple on every Paraguayan table. Mandioca is best when fresh and in a good year (plenty of rain) it will be very tender. In a draught year you may need to use a pressure cooker to get it soft. Mom almost always cooked it in a pressure cooker regardless of the season.



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Yerba Mate


Yerba mate also know simply as mate is the plant from which the leaves and small branches are cultivated and sun dried to make a green tee native to South America. It was first cultivated by the Guarani tribe and also some TupĂ­ communities in Brazil prior to European colonization.


Mate (beverage)

Mate is the hot drink prepared from yerba mate and served in a guampa (matero). Mate is a very social drink. About three to five table spoons of yerba is placed in a guampa. The bombilla (straw) is placed in the yerba and hot water (almost to a boil) is poured over the yerba. The guampa is then passed to the first person and they will suck the hot water through the bombilla. The guampa is handed back to the person serving who will fill it with hot water and pass it on the second person; this will continue in a cycle until all have drank their full.

There are many variations on the simple mate. About a half tea spoon of sugar may be added with each service creating mate dulce (sweet mate). Most people in Argentina drink their mate this way. Most people in Paraguay will add small amounts of yuyos (medicinal herbs) such as mint or



Tereré

In Paraguay and Brasil a cold drink is shared in the same fashion as the mate. Simply use cold water instead of hot water.