Merenda, an Italian food tradition!
Today, I want to tell you something about an Italian food tradition: the Merenda! Have you ever heard about it?
The word has Latin origin and it means “something to deserve it”. It’s a light afternoon snack, usually prepared from raw ingredients commonly available at home.
While British have the afternoon tea break, Italians and, of course, Tuscans have the Merenda. This is an Italian food tradition but each region has its own ingredients and different ways to prepare Merenda.
Talking about Merenda snack, my mind goes back to my youth. It reminds me of my Grandmother that used to show me her love preparing some snacks in the afternoon.
If I was out in the garden playing with friends, she used to prepare Merenda for anyone and when everything was ready, she was shouting at me “Niccola, smettete di giocare e venite a fare merenda!” – Nicola, stop playing and come here, the Merenda is ready!
Or if I was studying, she used to prepare a healthy snack helping me keep focusing on my studies.
You will love the Tuscan way to prepare Merenda!
There are many ways to prepare Merenda but the base is the tuscan bread. The typical ones are:
- Bread with all kind of cured meats as mortadella or salami or with Nutella chocolate.
- The classic sandwich with 2 homemade bread slices, cheese and raw ham.
- Homemade bread slices dressed with olive oil, salt and rubbed ripe tomatoes on top.
- A specialty from the past was bread, sugar and red wine. The sweet taste of sugar and the good smell of the wine, a deliciousness!!
Everything served with water or fruit juices or with a glass of Spuma Bionda (a typical soda of the center Italy) or also with a glass of red wine for adults.
Actually, once, at 4 pm, my Grandmother prepared to me a big dish of gnocchi (potatoes dumplings) with meat ragout, but don’t tell it to anyone! My uncle still laughs at me reminding that afternoon.
Merenda was also a perfect snack for workers.
The meaning of Merenda is something to deserve, that’s why it was also the snack of peasants and workers before to go back home from work: a healthy snack with bread, cheese, tomatoes, ham and a glass of red wine was the perfect way to refresh themselves after a day of hard work.
In Carrara, where the marble quarries are, the typical Merenda for workers included also the famous Lardo di Colonnata, a cheap but healthy and tasty ingredient to get back energy.
You cannot leave Tuscany before to have tried this snack of the italian food tradition. You can taste it sitting on a table in the main square of a medieval village, or during a wine tasting in one of the beautiful vineyard, or waiting for the sunset along one of the sandy beach or sitting on a terrace staring at terrific landscapes! What will be your favorite?