Have you heard of horchata (orxata in Valencian language) – a local non-alcoholic drink and fartons – a kind of sweet bread to accompany it? If not, now is the ideal time to taste this typical Spanish food as the summer months are slowly approaching. In this article you will learn where horchata comes from, where to try it and how to prepare this heavenly drink at home.
Horchata is a sweet drink from ground tiger nuts (chufa), water and sugar. It has to be served very cold. The taste is very similar to almond milk. It’s said that the chufa was brought to Valencia by Arabs around 700 BC and is cultivated nowadays in the fields around Valencia.
There is a legend about the origin of the name horchata (orxata). It says that once the king of Aragon Jaime I was visiting Valencia. One village girl offered him a little bit of horchata. The king loved it and asked her what it is. The girl told him it’s a chufa milk. The king exclaimed: Açò no es llet, açò és or, xata! This means: This is not milk, it’s gold, girl!
There are many horchaterías in Valencia – places where you can enjoy glass of horchata. Probably the most famous one is Horchatería Daniel in Alboraya that was open in 1960. If the village of Alboraya is too far for you, they have another branch in Mercado Colón. Horchatería Daniel makes its own fresh horchata and fartons every day. Apart from this, they prepare their own Spanish desserts from chufa nuts, such as biscuits, chocolate pralines and turrón de chufa. They even have an e-shop where you can order fresh chilled horchata and it will be delivered to your place.
How to make horchata at home? You will need 250 g of dried tiger nuts, 1 l of water and 150 g of sugar. First, leave the nuts in the water for 5 hours more or less. Then wash them and together with 1 l of water and sugar blend them properly. Leave the mix in the fridge for 24 hours. Then sieve the mix through a piece of cotton fabric. Your horchata is ready. On this page you can also find fartons recipe.