White, cold, sweet and very refreshing, Horchata is the drink of Summer. Once you have had the first Horchata of the season, it is when you feel Summer has started. It has a particular taste of Holidays. Have it comfortably seated in a bar, a terrace or buy it in an ice-cream shop or a specialized store – an horchatería.
But, what is Horchata?
Horchata is made of crushed chufas (tiger nuts), water and sugar. You can find it all over Spain but what makes it so special is the fact that chufas, the heart and essence of Horchata, are only grown in Valencia. Only 16 towns in North of Valencia assemble the few climatic requirements for the farming of this singular tuber. Chufas are also called earth almonds and they are grown with the only purpose of making Horchata. In the 13th century the Arabs introduced this farming in the Mediterranean area and Valencia was and continues to be the only area in Europe where chufa is grown. While you are in Barcelona, do not miss the opportunity to taste this unique drink of Spain. It will be difficult to find it anywhere else!
How is it made?
The elaboration of Horchata is an artisan process. Firstly, the chufas must undergo a process of cleaning consisting on various washes and a soaking of several hours. Once they are clean, they are grind in a mill and they are afterwards pressed and crushed with water until a compact mass is obtained. Finally, they are mixed with water and drained in order to obtain the chufa milk. This milk is once again mixed with water and, then, the desired amount of sugar is added. Horchata is then finished but it will be ready to drink only after it has been cooled for, at least, two hours.
The best Horchata in Barcelona
In Barcelona, you will find many places to drink Horchata, but if you want to have the real Horchata experience you should pay a visit to Horchatería Sirvent, the landmark of Horchata in the city, located in Parlament street. They are known for making the Best Horchata in town and people make long lines to buy a glass or go home with some artisan-made bottled Horchata. This store dates back to 1920 and it only have a few tables, so it is typical to order Horchata to take away and drink it on some nearby benches or squares.
A final tip: try the Cubanito. It is a big glass of Horchata with a chocolate ice-cream scoop in it. Absolutely delicious!