Spain’s Healthy Alternative to Ice cream: “La Horchata de Chufa”

Horchata de Chufa is one of Spain’s most loved beverages. Some of you may get confused between Mexican Horchata and Horchata de Chufa (from Valencia). Mexican Horchata is rice milk based and Horchata de Valencia is made with the unique tuber named chufa  (tiger nut).

You may have heard little or nothing about chufas (tiger nuts), also known as earth almonds. Tiger nuts are sweet and tart, with a smooth hazelnut and almond flavor. Horchata is pretty much only available in Spain since tiger nuts are only harvested in Valencia. Popular knowledge states that the moors introduced the tiger nut in Valencia in the Eighth Century.

Horchata is a popular Spanish drink that originated in Valencia, and is also popular in Andalucia and Murcia. Horchata is made using the milky juice of tiger nuts mixed with white sugar. The refreshing drink is made by soaking the chufas in cold water for 24 hours and then pounding them to a pulp to release their milky white juice. It has a similar texture and consistency as soy milk or almond milk, but with a unique taste.

Horchata must be kept in the refrigerator and needs to be served extremely cold. It is a very refreshing drink, often accompanied with long thin buns called fartons and it is only available in stores and cafeterias in the summer season.

If you plan on visiting Valencia in Spain, do not miss La Horchatería de Santa Catalina located at Plaza Santa Catalina, 6 Valencia. This is certainly the best home made horchata you can try, advertised as “Casa con dos siglos de tradición” (home with two centuries of tradition).

Some specialities are horchata with fartons, soft buns to dip in; adding a chocolate ice cream scoop to get a “cubano”, or mixing horchata with a hint of coffe, cinnamon or lemon.

If you want to try Horchata de Chufa and don’t have time for a quick trip to Valencia, you can order some online at La Tienda – the Best of Spain