The Merienda, Argentinian-Style Afternoon ‘Tea’

The merienda is the equivalent of the traditional English ‘tea’ of Argentina, only in the case of Argentina, it is something to fill in those long, hungry hours before the evening meal is served at nine or ten in the evening.

Some typical meriendas are:

  • a ‘Picada’, (translates as ‘chopped’), that usually consists of cold cuts, olives, cheese and hard-boiled eggs, or some variation thereof. The first Picada we had was in Buenos Aires, definitely ‘chopped’ and not overly impressive. a picada snack for when we were starving in Buenos Aires

    This poster in Restaurante de el Entrepriso in Salta reads, ‘Picada p/dos personas. Salame, Salamín, Salchichón*, Ternera, Jamón, Jamón Crudo, Sardo, Aceitunas Verdes y Negras, Huevo, Lomito Ahumado, Cantimpalo, Bondiola, Roquefort más Cerveza Salta y Pan. 36 Pesos**.

    Salami, Salamín (another type of salami), Salchichón (another type of salami), Veal, Ham (boiled, like Deli ham in the Northern hemisphere), Cured Ham (paper-thin slices of salt-cured ham, similar to Serrano Ham in Spain), Sardo (a type of semi-hard cow’s milk cheese from Argentina, yellow in colour), Green and Black Olives, Egg, Smoked Tenderloin, Cantimpola (a particular type of Chorizo from Cantimpola, Spain), Bondiola (a tasty cured pork similar to Prosciutto), Roquefort plus Salta (local) Beer and Bread. 36 Pesos.

    * Salame, Salamín, Salchichón all start with ‘sal‘ means means ‘salt’.   ** 36 pesos 2008 prices.

    Picada en el menu en Salta, Argentina

    Picada en el menu más ‘Cerveza Salta’ 36 pesos por dos personas.

    At the bottom of the menu is an English translation: ‘Cold Cuts and Cheese’ which, if it was in Spanish, would read: ‘Fiambres y Quesos’.

    The Picada as it looked on our plate.

    huevos duros, queso amarillo, Roquefort, aceitunas verdes y negras, jamón, salami y otros fiambres (hard-boiled eggs, yellow cheese, blue cheese, green and black olives, ham, salami and other cold cuts).

    A shot to establish scale.

    una picada en el noche en Salta, Argentina

    La picada y pan y mayonesa y cerveza en Salta

    The menu in this restaurante features lightweight meals that work well as a merienda…

  • Empanadas’, pastries stuffed with cheese, meat, fish or greens. There are also sweet empanadas.
    A basket full of empanadasThis menu offers all kinds of Empanadas which one can order ‘al horno’ (baked) or ‘fritas’ (fried). menu offers all kinds of Empanadas which one can order 'al horno' (baked) or 'fritos' (fried)Empanadas go well with a good vino tinto from Argentina. Empanada and Argentinean wine in the countryside of Argentina
  • matambre’ and salad. The matambre is usually some form of meat ‘enrollado‘, usually beef rolled with vegetables or eggs, and served in colourful slices. The word matambre is a combination of two words: ‘mata‘ (kill) + hambre (hunger).

    This merienda consists of matambre, beef ‘enrollado’, rolled with vegetables, una ensalada, pan, chimichurri y cerveza. A light Argentinean meal for the afternoon merienda: matambre (rolled beef) ensalada mixta (tomatoes and lettuce), Chimichurri (parsley, garlic and spices sauce used as both a dip and marinade), bread and cerveza

  • a ‘parillada’, the traditional barbeque of meat, meat and meat, slow-cooked and seasoned with lime and salt. This is a rather heavy choice for a merienda.
    This parrillada in Tafí del Valle has goat, a local speciality along with the usual sausages and chicken.

    This parrillada in Tafí del Valle has ‘cabrito’ (kid goat), a local speciality, along with the usual sausages and chicken

    If you notice on the top menu they offer the smaller ‘Cabrito con papas fritas’, young goat grilled parrillada-style served with french fries, a speciality of Northwest Argentina.

Bbq goat is shown off at a parrillada in Tafi del Valle in Argentina Then there are the usual suspects: Pizza and Hamburguesas but these need no explanation.

More about our trip to Argentina.

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5 responses to “The Merienda, Argentinian-Style Afternoon ‘Tea’

  1. That’s quite meal. Seems like it’d be enough to finish the day rather than eat again later. Is it normal to eat again at 9pm, every day?

    • Spain, Portugal and Argentina all had the same daily eating routine; until we caught on we were starving in all these places, clawing at restaurant windows at 7:30, 8:00 in the evening (and morning too sometimes) – sometimes they let us in early – most places didn’t really start eating until 9:00, and the tango places didn’t actually start until midnight – quite a different lifestyle…

  2. Pingback: Exploring the Wineries of Cafayate, in the Northwest of Argentina | Albatz Travel Adventures·

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