I learned a new word in Argentina (okay a few, but this one stood out). Merienda. It is now one of my favorite words. For a simple comparison, it is like tea time. It consists of usually sitting around, drinking Mate, snacking on facturas, and sharing with friends.
A few definitions:
Mate – A traditional drink of Argentina that consists of drinking out of a metal or wood like gourd filled with Yerba. Hot water is then poured over the leaves and drank through a bombilla, or a special straw that filters the herbs. This is repeated until the flavor is removed from the leaves and all are thoroughly wet. Each person drinks until the water is finished.
Facturas– Small sweet croissants or criollias (small bread like biscuits). Sold at local bakeries for very cheap, 12 pesos (around $1 USD) for ½ dozen or 2 pesos each.
So, if you find yourself in Argentina, talk to some Argentineans. They will more likely than not invite you to share in Mate or Merienda. It is a great opportunity to just enjoy some company, take some time to relax, and of course, practice a bit of Spanish