There are some things about Spain in general and Valencia in particular that makes you grow fond of it. For me, among those is habit of meals designed not so much for food as for spending time with friends, sipping a drink and having fun, with a helpful bite on the side. One such meal is merienda – late-afternoon snack.

Merienda (which is by no means to be confused with tapas hour that comes after it or pre-lunch almuerzo) is taken after lunch, around 5pm or 6pm. It mostly takes form of some sweet pastry, churros, or ice cream, though some people prefer to have sausages, ham or some other variety of dry meat, or cheese. And drink I mentioned earlier is non-alcoholic more often than not. Then, of course, beer is hardly considered as alcohol in Valencia.

Its purpose is more about socializing than about eating. Merienda is friends having a coffee after work in its purest form, or older people getting together after their daily tasks. It is good for children, too, since playing football (European kind) in the streets all day takes toll in energy. And since dinner is still a few hours away, there is no way to ruin your appetite.

Among more popular things to have for merienda are famous Spanish churros, pancakes, bread with chocolate cream and fruit, muffins, donuts, croissants, cakes, cupcakes, waffles with fruit or chocolate cream.

Valencia has countless bars where you can enjoy merienda. Among my favorites are Mama Delicias, La Petite Brioche, Bretonne Annaick, La Rosa de Jerico, El Desvan del Café…

If road brings you to Valencia, try them. And then take a walk around, maybe you find some hidden pearl. Valencia sure have countless of those.

My new favorite for sure is El Corte Inglés rooftop!