- For the place in California, see Merienda, California.
Merienda is a light meal in Southern Europe, particularly Spain, Italy (merenda), Slovenia and Croatia (marenda), as well as Hispanic America and the Philippines. Usually taken in the afternoon or for brunch, it fills in the meal gap between lunch at noon and dinner, or between breakfast and lunch. It is a simple meal that often consists of a piece of fruit, cookies, yogurt, and other snacks paired with juice, hot chocolate, coffee, spirits, or other beverages.
It is typical for Argentines and Paraguayans to have merienda or "tea" around 5pm, between lunch and dinner. It generally consists of an infusion (tea, mate, coffee, mate cocido, etc.) and a baked snack (scones, bread, toasts, cake, facturas, etc.), usually accompanied with dulce de leche, honey, butter or jam. North Americans may relate this light meal as a type of "second breakfast."
In the Philippines, merienda (Filipino: meryenda or minandál) is a generic term encompassing two light meals: the first is a morning snack that may correspond to either brunch, elevenses, or second breakfast; the second one is the equivalent of afternoon tea. Merienda taken in the early evening around sunset just before or in place of dinner is meanwhile distinctly referred to as merienda cena. Broadly, merienda is any sort of dish or snack in a portion smaller than the traditional "full meal" consisting of rice and a complimentary viand (unless the merienda is taken as brunch or merienda cena), coupled with either a cool or hot drink (usually coffee). Common fare may be sweet or savoury, ranging from breads, pastries, noodles, halo-halo, and even delicacies such as balút.
French speaking countries will refer to a "Gouter" for this 4pm light meal
- Solomon H. Katz. (ed.). ""Spain." Encyclopedia of Food & Culture". Vol. 2. Gale Cengage, 2003; http://www.enotes.com, 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- "Merienda in the Philippines". http://liveinthephilippines.com. July 3, 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- Doreen G. Fernandez. "Filipino Food/Cuisine Glossary". Palayok: Philippine Food Time, On Site, in the Pot. Manila: Bookmark Inc., 2000; http://www.seasite.niu.edu. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- "Pleasures of the palate and beverages to quench your thirst". How to survive in and even enjoy Croatia, A guide for smart foreigners. Retrieved 27 December 2010.