"Let's have merendina after this"
It's the sweet, savory, and everything in between - it's the cookie and milk kids have after finishing their homework. It's a refreshing beverage and a couple of tarali after practicing piano. It's that couple of bites of pralines that you save until after you finish whatever you were putting up.
Merenda comes from the Latin ‘’merere’’, which means ‘’to deserve’’, so it would be something that you deserve after having done something. Italian definition of merenda is fluid, yet the ritual is nostalgic and relaxing anywhere.
The mid-morning snack usually happens a couple of hours before lunch and the afternoon after four, but rarely past six (because everyone knows that that's the time for aperitivo). A tradition from kindergarten, Italians savor little pieces of breathers throughout the day with something emotionally rewarding - whether that is a sliver of panfrutto, or chocolate spread on a slice of brioche.
My mother always said, that it is the things you learn in kindergarten that matter the most. Obviously, she meant the ritual of merenda - what else could it have been?