A Barcelona food blog
It’s that time of year again, the overheard heavy sighs as the heat starts to get to us all, the irritable tourists who’ve been tromping round all day without taking a break to give into the heat and savings being made on the electric bill by taking frequent cold showers but being offset by the fan’s constant whirring.
It’s the time of year when locals reach for a chilled glass of horchata/orxata to take the edge off the fierce warmth and humidity.
Now, there are few things here in Spain and Catalonia that I dislike, save for maybe the frequent wolf-whistling and sucking in of air as you pass some men in the street, the propensity for not allowing people to get off the metro before you try boarding, or callos (tripe). However, try as I might, I just do not understand the love for this cloudy, chalky beverage.
Horchata is found across Spain and other parts of the world, predominantly in Latin America, and although it can be made from a variety of nut or grains, here it’s comprised of ground up chufas or ‘tiger nuts’ mixed with water, sugar and sometimes lemon juice.
Tiger nuts are an ancient tuber that have even been found in 6000 year old Egyptian sarcophaguses and are grown below ground, their foliage then burnt off before they are harvested. Horchata is found served in mass produced bottles or artesenal from horchaterías many of which also double up as ice cream parlours. I’ve been told the quality varies wildly but cheap and cheerful or hand made, they are all pretty disagreeable to me.
So, what is it about horchata that means we don’t rub along too well together? At risk of opening myself up to criticism, it’s just bland, oversweet to compensate and has a texture reminiscent of a well known brand of pink indigestion relief. However, if you haven’t let me put you off and fancy giving it a whirl along with a farton, the sweet yeast dough pastries similar to a Brisith ‘iced finger’, to dunk in, then here’s some of the supposed best spots in Barcelona: