The ‘horchata’ (or Orxata in Valenciano) is one of Valencia’s characteristic summer drink. It is made with water, sugar and its most important ingredient known as ‘chufas’ (or tiger nut in English), a tuber which is grounded and processed to make the horchata.
The drink itself is served ice-cold, which makes it an ideal drink in the summer, and you can usually find it in most cafeterias, restaurants and even bars.
The drink comes from a town in Valencia known as Alboraya, and its origins are very interesting. Even though it was used in ancient Egypt, it was actually introduced by Arabs, who found the Valencian area perfect to cultivate the chufas. However, there are many myths about where the horchata comes from, or when its consumption started.
So it is good to know that the horchata is the typical drink, but it is also key to know that it is usually consumed with a pastry, the traditional ‘fartons’. Fartons are a type of sweet elongated-shaped cakes made of flour, milk, sugar, oil, eggs and yeast. They are also glazed with sugar to give them a sweeter touch, and are dipped into the horchata for a bite full of flavour. They can also be eaten without the typical horchata, but some people think that their texture is a bit dry.
Make sure to try our typical Valencian ‘horchata y fartons’, as it is a drink that you will only be able to find around this area- Fresh horchata can’t be exported as it only lasts around 72 hours, and so if you find horchata somewhere else it is probably full of preservatives. Also, note that Valencian horchata has nothing to do with the Mexican one, which is made with rice milk.