Despite experiencing scorching temperatures while in Buenos Aires last year, our guide, Pablo (aka Your Friend in Buenos Aires), was eager for us to try a pair of traditional Argentinean hot drinks.
He took us to Café La Biela, near the famous Cementerio de la Recoleta, to introduce us to the better known of the two, which is called mate.
Pronounced maat-A, mate is a tea-like beverage popular throughout this part of South America. In fact, it’s considered the national drink of not only Argentina, but also Uruguay and Paraguay, although ironically Brazil is its largest producer.
Mate is a very slow and social drink, and there is a time-honoured ceremony that revolves around how it’s prepared and shared.
To be honest, though, I found mate a little bitter. And while I enjoyed the unhurried social aspect of drinking it, I much preferred the flavour of the other hot beverage to which Pablo introduced us.
Across town in Café Tortoni, Pablo ordered each of us a Submarino. A few minutes later, several mugs of hot milk arrived at our table, each accompanied by a small bar of milk chocolate shaped like a submarine. The submarines were then ‘sunk’ in the milk, where they slowly melted to create warm, sweet, satisfying, chocolaty goodness!
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