Welcome to our second appointment with our culinary stories.
Merenda! From the Latin word merere which means to deserve.
When it came into existence it wasn’t considered part of a normal daily food intake but an extra bonus which was eaten outside normal meal times and one had to deserve it.
It was usually a slice of homemade cake or bread with olive oil of jam. Then in the 50s the packaged snacks arrived on the Italian market, the single portion cakes made of sponge cake, shortcake or brioche, called merendine.
The very first one was a miniature panettone created by one of the founders of the Italian food industry, Angelo Motta, followed by a miniature cake which resembled the pandoro of Verona made by Bauli.
At the beginning of the 60s, Ferrero presented its sliced sponge cake, followed by another chocolate-covered version with orange and curacao flavouring. At that same time, the world famous chocolate and hazelnut spread came out on the market.
In the 70s there was much to choose from, and the second generation of merendine began towards the end of the 80s when producers started to comply with the desires and needs of Italian consumers who were becoming more nutrition conscious. Fibres, yogurt, carrots and almonds were added to the ingredients.
The 90s brought the refrigerated ones made with fresh milk, and today we find products to please everyone.
Merenda time, mid-morning and mid-afternoon, is part of the Italian tradition, while in Anglosaxon countries it is called a snack, it can be sweet or savoury, and is eaten at all times of the day.
So, is it better to eat manufactured merendine or home-made ones?
Pre-packaged ones are surely practical but we prefer a yummy, good quality, home-made one which gratifies the person who bakes it and keepsin touch with authentic flavours!
Here is a nice muffin!
280 gr self-rising flour
2 tbs sugar
125 ml cream
185 ml milk
90 gr butter
180 gr chocolate chips
Pre-heat the oven at 180°, prepare the baking cups and two bowls, one for the dry ingredients and one for the wet ones.
In one bowl put the flour, the sugar, the chocolate then mix. In the other bowl beat the egg and add the cream, the milk, the melted and cooled butter and the vanilla. Pour this into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
Mix it all just a bit, as Lorraine Pascale says, only 8 times if you want a fluffy muffin, or else it becomes gummy. Pour the batter in the cups, decorate with sugar granules and leave to bake for about 20 minutes. Delicious, small treasure chests that are good at home, at school and at work!
(immagine e English translation di Tina Ferraiuolo & Cristiana Ordioni)