The drink of gold
A long, long time ago (maybe more than a thousand years), a woman took the king of the Crown of Aragon a glass of horchata.
– What is this, maiden?
– It is tiger nut milk [an edible tubercle].
– This isn't milk. It is gold, dear! [In those times, the phrase in Valencian language sounded rather like: “¡Açò no és llet, açò és OR, XATA!"].
From this phrase, from these two words, “or” (gold) and “xata” (pretty), the term ‘Horchata’ was formed, giving its name ever since, as legend would have it, to the most famous drink on the Spanish East Coast.
Horchata is a mixture of water, sugar and tiger nuts, a herbaceous plant only grown in the lands of Valencia. The nuts are collected between March and May and left to dry for some time. Then comes the washing, the selection of the best nuts and washing again before going into the water where they are submerged for some time to swell and rehydrate before going on to the grinder to be macerated in the form of water and tiger nut mass. This mass then goes on to the press and the product is mixed with sugar and water before being chilled. The horchata is ready to drink.
The people of Valencia have been in love with horchata for centuries. Not only have they given into its flavour, but medical studies say that the drink has recommendable digestive properties and, like all foods in the Mediterranean diet, helps to reduce cholesterol and improve the heart’s operation.