When you are trying to figure out what souvenirs and mementos to bring back from your trip to Mendoza, here is a list of the top ten that you can’t miss out on. Each one distinguishes us and our culture, and characterises our place in the world. Let’s go shopping!
There is no home in Argentina that is without its mate. Drink it alone or with friends whatever time of day, mate is your quintessential Argentine companion. Mate comes in a set, and all of the components bring their own tradition:
The first purchase is the ‘mate’ or the container where we put the yerba mate. Historically it was made with quebracho wood or rosewood, but nowadays you can find all sorts of artistic interpretations, in glass, plastic, porcelain and even silver. Pick the mate that most reflects your personality!
The straw (or bombilla) is what we use to drink the infusion. Without it, it would be impossible to ‘take mate’ as we say. It is usually made of metal such as stainless steel, alpaca or silver. Some of them have beautiful and elaborate decorations, others are very simple
The yerbera, azucarera and hot water thermo, are supplements that work together to make your set complete and super chic! The ultimate mate purchase.
Mate is an essential part of our culture. If you want to get to know Argentine culture, it is unmissable. When you take home a mate, you are not only bringing home a souvenir to share with your friends but one of our most treasured rituals.
There’s nothing cooler than the traditional attire of our natives – stylish, elegant and with an ancestral air. You can find ponchos in a variety of colours ranging from ocher and brown, to the most lively and striking. The wool traditionally comes from Malargüe (south of Mendoza) and Lavalle (north of Mendoza). The simple design and the warmth it provides is ideal for a cool night in your back garden while enjoying a glass of wine, or perhaps opening special bottles in your cellar, or even better on your flight back home.
There is a variety of crafts that flaunt Argentine leather. Renowned for its quality, you’ll find Argentine leather raw or tanned from a variety of different creatures both large and small, which includes antelope and even “unborn calf.” My personal favourite is the capybara leather!
As well as a variety of leathers, in Mendoza and across Argentina you’ll find an assortment of accessories such as wallets, belts, keychains, boots, handbags, jackets, and berets among others.
The most comfortable shoes in Argentina! These are practical and informal espadrilles that are the footwear of choice for children and adults, both locals and tourists. The traditional ones are canvass but you’ll also find soft capybara leather ones, or more daring options with colourful designs including pictures, flowers and stripes. Comfortable fashion!
You cannot miss out on these hats when visiting the vineyards – they are the indispensable tool for winemakers, agronomists and harvesters. These simple and beautiful caps are made of straw and protect us from the heat of the intense Mendoza sun, adding some style and charm! Chupallas are really easy to pack and are extremely light, with lots of flexibility in the material. They are also idea for the beach in the summer!
A proper asado set separates the asado expert from the amateur grillman. An asado set includes a hand crafted knife shaped especially for meat cutting, and its trusty holder. The knife really is the star, usually with a handle of hand carved wood or bone, and ideally it is shaped to the hand of the chef. The case (usually leather) often clips onto your belt for easy access. There is a local saying that a true ‘asador’ shows his experience by having his own knife, so that no asado will ever get the better of him!
We take our wine accessories seriously here, and as one of the great wine capitals you can expect sets to be sold with a corkscrew, drop lip, thermometer and a capsule cutter to start. Pick between the colourful or more serious sets, or get one engraved with your name or favourite wine variety! Another great addition are the glass charms, which identify your glass from someone else’s.
The ‘yerba’ are the mate herbs that you use to make this local drink, and you should pick up your favourite brand here before leaving as they are difficult to find outside of the southern cone. Pick between the bitter or sweet herbs, and make sure to try the varieties like those mixed with citrus peel, mountain herbs, and mint or peppermint. It is a bonus that mate is rich in antioxidants!
Local sweet treats
We have a real sweet tooth here! So don’t miss out on some of the local delicacies, and take some home as great gifts and souvenirs. The classic is Dulce de Leche – a sweet caramel that is popular with all generations and in all sorts of desserts, or simply enjoyed with a spoon!
Quince, sweet potato and alcayota are other sweet preparations that we usually serve with cheese and nuts. These sweet preparations are particularly renowned from the Uco Valley. There are also plenty of jams and marmalades to try including the local specialities of fig, pumpkin kumquats.
And last but not least… alfajores! Two soft round cookies, dipped in white or dark chocolate and with a rich filling of Dulce de Leche or jam. You’ll find hundred of brands in every kiosk, but I recommend finding some of the more artisan ones. Delicious gifts, if you manage to pack them away from temptation!
Arauco (native olive oil)
Mendoza has not only excellent wines, but also is well known for its production of extra virgin olive oils. The natural properties of the olive, helped by the Mendoza terroir, are supremely manifested in oils. As well as the European varieties, which grow very well in this region, we have our own native olive called Arauco.
Long ago it was known as the Criollita olive for its small size, but today Arauco is used for its high quality and great character and nobility. A dry and spicy olive oil, try to get some extra virgin Arauco and serve it with homemade bread or a beautiful green salad.
Where to buy
Capibara Rustico Argentino
Av San Martín 1027, Local 39 y 40, City Center
Paseo Sarmiento 184, City Center
Las Heras 351, City Center
Regionales Los Pinos
Perú 2206, City Center
Ruta Panamericana 8343, Chacras de Coria
By Maria Belen Gil
Want some help buying your gifts in Mendoza, or do you want to stock your cellar with some of the region’s wine? Take a look at our shopping experience, where we can help you make the most of your time in Mendoza – the best value purchases, the most authentic gifts and the finest quality handcrafts.