Ever heard of tratear? No, it’s not a fancy new restaurant or the latest internet fad. Tratear is an old Spanish word that roughly translates to “the act of lingering or lingering around.” But tratear is so much more than that – it’s an art form, a way of life. When you tratear, you make the most of life’s simple pleasures. You take your time, slow down, and savor each moment.
Maybe it’s enjoying a long, leisurely meal with friends where the conversation flows as freely as the wine. Or taking a scenic walk through your neighborhood, stopping to notice the colorful flowers and chatting with neighbors along the way. Tratear is about being fully present and appreciating the little details in life. In our fast-paced world that values productivity and efficiency, tratear is a radical act of slowing down. But trust us, it’s worth it. Your stress levels will decrease, your relationships will strengthen, and you’ll gain a deeper gratitude for this beautiful life we live.
What Is Tratear?
Tratear is a traditional Colombian dance that originated in the Caribbean coast region. The word ‘tratear’ comes from the Spanish ‘tratar’ meaning to negotiate or deal. The dance is meant to imitate the trading and bartering between merchants and customers in markets.
The dance involves two partners, typically a male and female. The male takes on the role of the merchant while the female plays the customer. They circle each other, gesturing and miming the act of bargaining and negotiating over goods. The dance is usually upbeat and flirtatious with playful banter and chatter between the partners.
The moves in tratear incorporate swaying hips, graceful arm movements, and rhythmic footwork. Partners may spin, turn, and circle around each other. The male tries to convince the female to buy his wares while she pretends to consider the options, ask questions and eventually make a purchase. It’s a fun, lighthearted dance that celebrates Colombian culture.
Tratear is performed at festivals, community events and competitions throughout Colombia. The colorful, flowing skirts and blouses worn by the female dancers add to the visual spectacle. The dance is meant to highlight important aspects of daily life and bring people together to appreciate cultural traditions.
If you get a chance to experience tratear, take it! This spirited folk dance will lift your mood and make you want to move your feet. And who knows, you might even find yourself negotiating a good deal!
The Origins and History of Tratear
Tratear originates from Spain, with historical roots linking back to the Moors of North Africa who occupied parts of Spain for centuries. The Moors introduced new instruments, musical forms and rhythms that blended with Spanish folk music. Over time, these influences combined to become the foundation of tratear.
Tratear is all about improvisation and spontaneous composition. Musicians get together, start playing a basic rhythm and just see where it leads – making up lyrics and melodies on the spot. There are no wrong notes or rigid rules. It’s meant to be free-flowing and fun.
The usual instruments in tratear are the guitar, bandurria, laud, and tambourine. The guitar provides the harmony and rhythm. The bandurria, similar to a mandolin, gives a bright, metallic sound. The laud is a lute-like instrument that adds depth. And the tambourine keeps the beat.
Vocals in tratear often feature quick exchanges between singers, with exaggerated emotion and drama. Lyrics tend to be lighthearted, focusing on love, dancing or celebrating life’s simple pleasures.
Tratear is still enjoyed today, especially at festive gatherings and in southern Spain where it originated. While contemporary styles have emerged, the soul of tratear remains – coming together to make music without borders or limitations. Its spontaneity and joyful spirit are timeless.
So if you ever get a chance to experience tratear in person, prepare to clap your hands, stamp your feet, sing along and savor the moment. Tratear is music made for sharing.
How Is Tratear Made?
Tratear is a traditional Mexican alcoholic drink made from agave. The production process is labor-intensive and time-consuming, but results in a smooth, smoky spirit.
Harvesting the Agave
The agave plant used to make tratear takes 8-12 years to mature. Once ready, the pina, or heart, of the plant is harvested. The pina resembles a giant pineapple and can weigh up to 150 pounds. The pina is chopped into smaller pieces to release the sugary sap, called aquamiel, inside.
Fermenting and Distilling
The chopped pina pieces are then roasted in large earthen pits. This roasting process can last up to 4 days and infuses the aquamiel with a distinctive smoky flavor. The roasted agave is then crushed to release the aquamiel. Yeast is added to ferment the sugary liquid into a mildly alcoholic brew called mosto.
The mosto is distilled in copper stills. The first distillation produces ordinario, a low alcohol distillate. A second distillation results in tratear, usually 55-75% alcohol. Aging the tratear in oak barrels provides further complexity and flavor before bottling.
The Final Product
A single pina yields only a small amount of tratear, about 1-4 liters. This labor-intensive process and low yield contribute to tratear’s premium price. When enjoyed neat in a glass, tratear has a smooth, oaky and smoky flavor with hints of caramel. Its amber color comes from compounds extracted during roasting and aging.
Tratear can also be used as a base for cocktails, providing a distinctive flavor. This traditional Mexican spirit is meant to be sipped and savored, allowing you to appreciate the craft and skill that went into making each bottle. Salud!
The Different Varieties and Styles of Tratear
Tratear comes in many varieties and styles. The four main types are:
The traditional style of tratear originates from Spanish settlers in the 18th century. It features geometric patterns, floral motifs and vibrant colors. Designs are painted freehand directly onto wood or leather using acrylic or oil-based paints and dyes. Traditional tratear incorporates cultural symbols and is used to decorate furniture, boxes, bowls and other decorative items.
Contemporary tratear has a more modern minimalist style with abstract patterns, solid blocks of color and asymmetrical designs. Geometric shapes are common, as are metallics and neutral color palettes. Contemporary pieces have a sleek, upscale feel and are popular for home decor, fashion and art. This modern take on the traditional craft is attracting a new generation of artists and customers.
Folk art tratear is inspired by indigenous cultures and native wildlife. Bright colors and whimsical animals, birds and flowers are painted in a naive, stylized manner. Folk art tratear aims to capture the spirit of rural life and native traditions. Bowls, chairs, walking sticks and wall hangings are popular items. The lighthearted, rustic style has mainstream appeal.
Wearable art incorporates tratear designs onto clothing, shoes, jewelry and other accessories. Vibrant floral patterns, birds, animals and geometric shapes are stenciled or hand-painted onto fabrics, leather and beads. Wearable tratear allows people to showcase the craft through fashion and make a cultural statement. It is a way for artists to expand their creativity and reach new markets.
The variety of tratear styles allows artists to explore their passions and customers to find pieces that reflect their tastes. From traditional to contemporary, folk art to fashion, tratear has something for everyone. This diverse art form honors cultural traditions while adapting to modern esthetics. Tratear’s blend of color, creativity and craftsmanship gives it widespread appeal.
Where to Buy the Best Tratear
When it comes to buying tratear, you have a few options. Here are some of the best places to find high quality tratear:
Specialty Food Stores
Some gourmet food stores, especially those that specialize in imported goods, carry tratear. While prices may be higher here, the tratear is usually very fresh and of premium quality. Staff are also knowledgeable about the product and can give you recommendations or advice for use. Some stores may even offer samples so you can try before you buy.
For convenience, purchasing tratear online is a great choice. Reputable retailers like Gustiamo, Di Bruno Bros. and La Tienda offer imported tratear that is properly handled to maximize freshness. They frequently have sales or discount codes to help you save money. Just be aware that in some cases, shipping fees can offset any savings. Make sure the company uses proper insulation and ships quickly if freshness is a concern.
Ethnic Grocery Stores
Hispanic, Italian or Mediterranean markets are excellent places to find tratear, especially varieties that are imported from overseas. These stores specialize in ingredients and products common in the cuisines of Spain, Italy, Mexico and other Latin countries where tratear originated or is popular. Prices are usually lower here and the tratear will be very authentic. However, check the ‘best by’ date to make sure maximum freshness, especially if you don’t plan to use it right away.
Some local farms or artisanal producers make small batch tratear using traditional methods. Farmer’s markets are a great place to find these unique, locally-made products. Talk to the vendor to learn about their process and ingredients. While prices for artisanal tratear may be higher, many find that the superior quality and taste are worth it. And of course, you’ll be supporting a local business.
Buying from any of these sources will help you get the freshest, most authentic tratear to enjoy. Shop around at different places to find the best product for your needs and budget. With so many options available, you’re sure to find tratear that suits your tastes perfectly.
So now you’ve learned what tratear is all about. It’s a unique cultural tradition that brings people together to share laughs, stories, and memories over delicious food and drink. Though the concept of gathering together with friends and family over a meal is universal, tratear has a distinctive Argentine spirit. The next time you’re looking for an excuse to reconnect with people you care about, consider organizing your own tratear. Cook up some authentic empanadas or grilled provoleta, pour a glass of Malbec, put on some folk music, and get ready for an evening filled with warmth, joy, and connection. The simple pleasures in life are often the most meaningful, and tratear celebrates them all.