Merienda is a light meal, something that may occur in between the times for traditional meals. This is most often seen in Southern Europe, Latin America, and the Philippines. Merienda is used to feed the body in between the three main meals of the day, and it usually involves simple foods that do not take long to make. You can enjoy a merienda anywhere in the world, but the way you enjoy it will depend on where you are at the time. Here is a look at how this tradition differs around the world.
Merienda in the Philippines
The pinoy tradition of merienda usually refers to brunch or afternoon tea. Participants will eat fruit, yogurt, cookies, or other small snacks along with juice or tea. There is a form of merienda that occurs at night, known as merienda cena. This is a light meal eaten just before dinner, similar to an appetizer in America. You can look at Filipino recipes if you want to try some of the dishes for merienda yourself, but for the most part, all you need is some fruit and something to drink to get the idea.
Merienda in Argentines
In Argentines, people go to a café to have merienda. There, they usually eat tostadas with dulce de leche and jam. Think of this somewhat like a second breakfast, where they may serve orange juice or coffee to complete the meal. There are some households that have merienda at home, but most people will go out for this experience.
Merienda in Croatia
In Croatia, merienda is spelled marenda. This represents a light meal in between breakfast and lunch, usually eaten during a break at work. The meal typically consists of sandwiches or toast, and it offers just enough food to boost energy levels so workers can get back to their jobs.
Merienda in Catalonia
In Catalonia, this meal is known as beranar. The meal usually consists of cured ham and pa amb tomaquet. It is usually something small, so it won't spoil a person's appetite.
There are many other instances of merienda all around the world, and they vary from place to place. You could make this a tradition in your home and eat whatever you like. As long as it fits the merienda spirit, you can call it a true merienda.