Endless Rounds of Maté

An old Arabic saying suggests, “True generosity is giving without being asked”. Generosity is one of the many communal values that have withstood the test of time in the Chouf region of Mount Lebanon. Manifested through the spirit, self, space, and endless rounds of Maté.

Maté was introduced to our lands after the Lebanese migrated to Argentina and returned home with this beverage that later became a tradition. It became the way communities stayed connected during the visits that people pay one another. Maté made the visits longer and warmer, it brought people together.

Maté has unspoken rules but mandates ones that portray generosity, with rounds of biscuits, kaak, and petit fours.

Gathered in a circle to share a cup of mate passed to the person sitting on the right, there is always a person in charge of refilling the cup with hot water and flavoring the tip of the bombilla (metal straw) with a zest of a lemon slice.

Every cup has a story, however big or small, wise, or simply just a morning gossip. It was then that we learned the art of creating tales out of the everyday. Maté mornings taught us how to imagine, create, and express our various meandering thoughts with others. Maté night gatherings bring the promise of tales as families retreat indoors, filling the rooms with lively chatter, the scents of cooking, and the bubbling breath of water heated for Maté.

We hope that this would be an invitation for you, to come to pay us a visit in our homes, to be our guests, and share a Maté cup with us.