How to Drink Horchata with Fartons
How do you drink orxata, or horchata?
“Te comas la puntita como si fuera un puro y lo metes en la horchata.” (in other words: “You eat the tip of the farton like it’s the tip of a cigar and then stick the farton into the horchata” so it absorbs some of the drink.)
This according to my friend Xavier, who sent me to El Siglo, where they’ve been making horchata in Valencia, Spain since 1836! El Siglo is in La Plaza de la Reina.
As I’d gone this far in my life without consuming horchata, which you find all over Los Angeles, I wasn’t sure I needed it here in spain…until realizing what a historic local delicacy it really is.
California had barely been settled by the masses when this horchateria was already in full swing. It is now 173 years old. No wonder the woman seemed bored and frustrated when I asked if there was a menu.
In my stress of ordering quickly, I forgot about the farton although I’m not so sure it would have gone wellw ith my delicious granatizata (ice slushy) horchata with lemon. But it’s like a long sweet bread stick, described well here.
As I wondered what all the hubbub was about the horchata, a girl of 7-ish or so years walked in to ask the woman a question. Out came a plate of little brown-skinned tiger nuts, the base of horchata. The girl took a nut, then I did. The woman explained that the tiger nut is a tuber that grows in the ground, indigenous to Valencia. It was chewy with an almond / chestnut flavor. In olden days they ate the nuts as a snack, but no more.
Horchata is best the day its made. And she explained that bottled is no good with all the additives. Anticipating the answer, I asked if it had great health benefits.
What do you think? 🙂
On the other hand I know that the thick hot chocolate you get in Spain has health benefits and one should consume as much of it as possible!
They scoop the horchata from these big metal vats: