Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pope Francis' favorite drink

On more than one occasion Pope Francis has been seen sharing a drink offered him by a pilgrim from Argentina: it's mate, a traditional infused drink popular in his native country and its neighbors. Mate is the national infusion of Argentina, and is also associated with Our Lady of CaacupĂ©, whose shrine Pope Francis visited in Paraguay on July 11. The highly caffeinated beverage is served hot, traditionally in a hollowed gourd with a metal straw. Dried leaves of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis), a member of the holly family, are steeped in the hot water. Yerba mate was first cultivated and used by the Guarani, an indigenous people of Paraguay and its neighbors. It was domesticated in the 17th century, and the Society of Jesus was largely responsible for the spread of its consumption, through export – so much so that it became known as “the Jesuits’ tea.” So no wonder that mate is the Pope’s favorite drink, being both a Jesuit and Argentinian.

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