Spanish tapas next to a cocktail
Merienda, The Afternoon Snack Tradition Relished In Spain
After lunch and before the traditionally late Spanish dinner time, la merienda is an afternoon snack ritual that starts around 5:00 p.m. to hold off hunger until dinner.
Merienda may have started as a way for children and grandparents to eat in the early evening, but the opportunity to gather with friends is popular for Spaniards of all ages.
La merienda offers the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends after work. Whether in a cafe or at home, a small sweet or savory refreshment is enjoyed in the late afternoon.
Foods eaten during la merienda include churros with chocolate, olive oil cakes, croissants, yogurt, and fresh fruit. For a savory bite, bocadillos (small sandwiches) are common.
Some families eat a more substantial merienda known as merienda-cena, but expect most cafes to serve light offerings only until the opening of dinner at 9:00 p.m.