Opinions differ as to just where Patagonia’s boundaries lie on maps, but most will agree that you know it when you are there. The light bends differently to the eyes, feet seem to weigh a little less than normal, and the trout grow as long as your leg.
It is a region that has captured the longing imaginations of adventurers from across the globe for centuries. Running up the spine of the Andes and to both coasts of South America, roughly from the 40th parallel South to Cape Horn, Patagonia is a vast landscape of mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, and plains that to this day holds less human population density than the Sahara desert. The relatively few people who do call the region home form a unique mix of indigenous and European cultures that is at once among the most distinctive and hospitable in the world. So whether you’re drinking Mate Nothing in Argentina is more Argentine than “el mate”. It is a foundation block of the very culture and lifeblood of our nation. Far more than a simple beverage to be shared amongst friends, mate is a staple of the identity of the Argentine people. It is tempting for northern hemisphere types to try and characterize mate as being something in the nature of tea, or coffee, a beverage to be enjoyed between meals or for a quick pick me up in the middle of the day. But mate in Argentina, far from being a simple liquid infusion, is as much about relationships as it is about caffeine, constituting a national tradition which is so deeply rooted in all strata of society that everywhere one goes in this land they will encounter “equipo de mate,” and offers to partake. Custom dictates that the server drink the first mate, checking to make sure that the temperature of the water and consistency of the yerba is correct, then refills it before handing it to the next person who will drink. Each member of a group drinks from the same mate, which is refilled and passed by the server from person to person. To share a mate is to share a conversation, to exchange ideas, and experience “community” in the very passage of time. It is an experience not to be missed, and one that many travelers to Argentina choose to take home and adopt in their own lands. CLICK TO CLOSE with a group of local gauchos on the trail, or indulging in the world’s best beef and fine red wines at a traditional Argentine AsadoArgentina is famous the world over for the quality of its meats, and there is no better way to experience this than with a traditional asado feast. The unique flavor of well bred, naturally fed free range stock from the pampas combined with the unique process of slow roasting over woodfire charcoal have made the asado an Argentine staple for locals and tourists alike. A Sunday without asado in Patagonia is a rare thing indeed, for as the gaucho poet Martín Fierro once said, "every beast that walks goes to the grill.” Inevitably the feast is accompanied by good red wine, homemade chimichurri, and a selection of fresh baked breads. CLICK TO CLOSE, time spent with the residents of Patagonia is sure to create memories that will truly last a lifetime.
"The editors at Sports Illustrated asked, ‘If we were to send you to an exotic location to do a trout-fishing story, where would it be?’ I gave it a moment’s thought and said ‘Patagonia.’"
~ Ernest Schwiebert ~
From Fifty Places To Fly Fish Before You Die
by Chris Santella