Merienda is a light meal in Southern Europe, particularly Spain, Portugal (lanche), 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 the noontime meal and the evening meal, 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, Paraguayans and Uruguayans to have merienda or "tea" around 5pm, 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. North Americans may consider this light meal a kind 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, "champorado"and even delicacies such as balút.
In coastal parts of Croatia and Slovenia, it is called marenda, a meal eaten between breakfast and lunch. Usually it is a light snack, like sandwiches or toast, eaten during a work break.