Typical merienda fare
Typical vespertine merienda in the South of Spain
Traditional serving of merienda in Café El Gato Negro, Buenos Aires: medialunas (croissants), café en jarrito (a double espresso coffee) and a little glass of sparkling water
A typical meryenda in the Philippines, tsokolate with suman rice cakes and ripe carabao mangoes

Merienda is a light meal[1] in southern Europe, particularly Spain (merenda in Galician, berenar in Catalan), Portugal (lanche or merenda) and Italy (merenda), France (goûter), as well as Hispanic America, the Philippines (meryenda/merienda), North Africa (Morocco), and Brazil (lanche or merenda). Usually taken in the afternoon or for brunch, it fills in the meal gap between the noontime meal and the evening meal, being the equivalent of afternoon tea in the English-speaking world; or between breakfast and lunch. It is a simple meal that often consists of a piece of fruit, bread, biscuits, yogurt, and other snacks in combination with fruit juice, milk, hot chocolate, coffee, spirits, or other beverages.

It is typical for Argentines, Paraguayans, and Uruguayans to have merienda around 17:00 hours, between the midday meal and supper. 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.

In the Philippines, merienda (Filipino: meryenda) 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.[2] Merienda taken in the early evening around sunset just before or in place of dinner is meanwhile distinctly referred to as merienda cena.[3] Generally speaking, merienda refers to any kind of dish or snack in a portion smaller than the traditional "full meal" consisting of rice and a complementary 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 and pastries (notably pandesal), desserts and sweets, street food, to noodle dishes.[4]

In coastal parts of Croatia, Slovenia, and on the Greek island of Corfu,[5] it is referred to marenda, a meal eaten between breakfast and lunch.[6] Usually it is a light snack, like sandwiches or toast, eaten during a work break.


In France, the merienda is called goûter or quatre-heures; the latter name refers to its timing at around four in the afternoon. The modern goûter is lighter than a full meal, and is more often consumed by children than by adults. It was a full cold meal until the 18th century, before which the goûter was taken at around 17:00 hours, but began to decline in popularity thereafter, since the evening meal was consumed at about 18:00 hours.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Solomon H. Katz. (ed.). "Spain. Encyclopedia of Food & Culture". Vol. 2. Gale Cengage, 2003; http://www.enotes.com, 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Merienda in the Philippines". Live in the Philippines. July 3, 2009. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  3. ^ Doreen G. Fernandez. "Filipino Food/Cuisine Glossary". Palayok: Philippine Food Time, On Site, in the Pot. Manila: Bookmark Inc., 2000; Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  4. ^ Child, Julia; Greenspan, Dorothy (4 November 1996). Baking with Julia: Sift, Knead, Flute, Flour, and Savor... William Morrow Cookbooks. ISBN 9780688146573.
  5. ^ Chatto, James; Wendy L., Martin (1998). A Kitchen in Corfu. New Amsterdam Books. p. 20.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ Hamlyn (2018). New Larousse Gastronomique. Octopus Books. p. 1473.