Moonraker Morsels

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.

Horchata and fartons, Barcelona food blog, Claire Gledhill

Horchata and fartons

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, Barcelona food blog, Claire Gledhill

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.

Mass manufactured horchatas, Barcelona food blog, Claire GledhillSo, 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:

Horchatería Sirvent

La Valenciana

Horchatería Verdú


4 comments on “Horchata

  1. acrusteaten
    August 20, 2013

    I think I’ve had it made from rice (Mexican style) and with cinnamon in it it’s ok, but I wouldn’t cry if I could never have it again.

    • butterytoast
      August 21, 2013

      My sentiments entirely. In fact made with rice sounds even worse, euw.

  2. La Valenciana - Parami
    September 2, 2013

    Thanks for mention us, we are very near from Pl.Universitat, in La Valenciana, we make orxata since 1910! And it’s the only place in Barcelona, where you could find orxata all along the year. There is no middle point: you love it, or you hate it. Taste the non-free to. And if afterall u couldn’t find why we love it, there are also delicious milkshakes 😉

    • butterytoast
      September 10, 2013

      There are many people who love it and you are one of the best places to give it a try. Thanks for the facebook link.

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This entry was posted on August 17, 2013 by in Cafes, Cakes / confectionary, Catalan food, Ice cream parlours and tagged , , , , , , , .
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