Typical Argentine Merienda

(Photo by amanky)

In Argentina we follow the Spanish-Italian tradition of the merienda, better known in the Anglo world as afternoon tea. It is basically a small meal between lunch and dinner. Although the culinary options nowadays have broadened and include treats such as muffins and bruschettas, classic Argentine meriendas consist of:

Cafe con leche and medialunas: A typical local staple served at all hours consisting of coffee with milk and yummy croissants made of lard (de grasa) or butter (de manteca).  In winter the coffee might be substituted by a submarino (a piece of chocolate dunked into hot milk).

Mate and facturas: Sugar and a caffeine like booster (mateine) come together in this combination of bitter mate and sweet pastries filled with dulce de leche, custard and quince jam.

Licuado de Banana and Tostado de jamón y queso: A favourite for Spring and Summer, this combination of banana and milk smoothie and grilled ham and cheese sandwich on special crustless bread, is a great afternoon energy booster.

Tea with milk and toast: The simplest version of the snacking combinations, and the one most commonly found in households. Toppings for toast are of course dulce de leche, maybe jam and for the light version cream cheese.