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Horchata: Valencian Tiger Nut

What is horchata? Where to try horchata?

Horchata is a drink, and its main ingredient is the tiger nut, a typical tubercle of the Valencian gardens. It’s the Valencian drink par excellence. The ideal way to taste it, it’s on a terrace during summertime with a Fartón (a typical bun you dunk in the Horchata). Order the drink normally, with crushed ice or mixed.

History

The tiger nut was cultivated already in the first dynasty of ancient Egypt and was brought to the iberic peninsula with the Arabic occupation in the Middle Age. The reasons for the plantation were probably the prohibition of wine (it wasn’t allowed to drink wine in the Mahometan religion) and the different advantages like digestive, energetic, and diuretic benefits.

Legend or reality: There is a legend that a young woman gave a white drink to the king of Aragón Jaime I to try. The king was very pleased with the flavor and asked: “¿Qué es aixo?” (“What’s that?”), the young woman answered: “Es llet de chufa” (“It’s tiger nut milk”), and the king answered correcting here: “¡Aixo no es llet, aixo es or xata!” (“This is not milk, this is Horchata!”). A lot of people think that this is the origin of the name.

Preparation:

The first step is the cleaning of the tiger nut. The tubercle will be cleaned from the dirt and earth of the garden. Later on, the best tiger nuts will be selected to pass them through a mill (usually it’s a cross-stitch) to grind them. To make the procedure easier they add 3 liters of water for each kilogram of tiger nuts. Like this, they avoid as well that the product keeping still inside the mill and the macerated mixture will be left with the water.

The final chopped mixture will be let through a press for once, afterwards they add two liters of water for each kilogram and it will be let a second time through the press.

To the final liquid, they add 100 to 150 grams of sugar for each kilogram of the mixture and then they shake it.

Now you can say that our Horchata is finished, you just need to cool it and it’s ready!

Where to try Horchata in Valencia:

If you search a place in Valencia where you can try Horchata we recommend you the main and most famous places to try the best Horchata:

–         Horchatería Santa Catalina

–         Horchatería El Siglo

–         Daniel en Alboraya

–         Els Sariers

The nearest Horchatería from the hostel is Santa Catalina. It’s just a 5-minute walk from the hostel at the square Santa Catalina which is next to the famous square Plaza de la Reina. It’s a must to pass by this traditional Horchatería.

To show you the importance of this drink you can listen at the following link to a song called Horchata composed by the group called Vampire Weekend. They wrote the song after trying this special Valencian drink.


 

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