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The Spanish love cold snacks, as is underlined by the many ice-cream parlours you’ll see. Typically Spanish is horchata, a delicious, refreshing drink for the warm summer months. The drink is also popular around Christmas, when people dip turrón, a kind of nougat, in their horchata. In Barcelona you’ll find the drink under orxata, its Catalan name.
The Spanish horchata, a milky, white drink that originates in Valencia, is made with water, sugar and chufas (earth almonds, tiger nuts). The perfect horchata is sweet with a slightly bitter aftertaste and should be served ice cold. Many bars and restaurants in Barcelona make their own; even more delicious! If you see a sign with ‘Hay horchata’ it means they have home-made horchata on the menu.
“‘Hey, try this!’”
El Tío Ché is the oldest horchatería in Barcelona, located in the Poblenou district since 1912. According to the current owner, his great-grandfather (Uncle Ché) ended up in Barcelona by accident. His original plan to emigrate to Argentina fell apart when he fell in love with a Barcelona girl while waiting for the boat. Uncle Ché owes his nickname to the way he attracted his customers : ‘Xe, prova!’ (Hey, try this!).
El Tío Che, Rambla del Poblenou, 44-46, 08005 Barcelona
Another place where the people of Barcelona like to get their fresh horchata is at Sirvent. This horchatería is located on the Carrer del Parlament and still uses the same traditional recipe with the best earth almonds from Valencia. And it works. Three generations later, the queues in summer are as long as ever. Sirvent is so popular that there is enormous demand for their two-litre bottles. Thankfully the drink can also be ordered by the glass.
Sirvent, Carrer del Parlament de Catalunya 56, 08015 Barcelona
True addicts will agree: horchata does wonders for your health. The ancient Persians and Arabs were already convinced of this fact and drank horchata for medicinal purposes. If you’re in need of a serious energy boost, forget about coffee and order a horchata. The drink is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron, and also lowers your cholesterol levels. To ensure optimal quality, a horchata committee ensures that only horchata with earth almonds from Valencia, often hand-picked, are used.