The “Horchata” is a vegetable milk prepared with tiger nuts, water and sugar. The natural one is delicious and very popular specially in summer. In the traditional ice-cream shops you can find Liquid Horchata and Iced Horchata (this one “granizada” in Spanish. It seems crushed ice). It´s easy to find horchata cartons in the supermarkets, but is industrially produced (sterilized or UHT), and the flavor it isn´t exactly the same, because the technological process transforms or eliminates totally or partially its contents of starch.
Horchata is more than a refreshing soft drink. It is a healthy drink very rich source of nutrients. The elaboration starts washing the tiger nuts (cyperus sculentus lativum) or 'Chufa' as it is known in Spanish, which is not actually a nut, but a small tuber.
Once they are washed, they have to be soaked by hours and then, they are grinded. During the process some water is added, and the mixture is left to macerate. When the proper time is spent, it is pressed and sifted and then, the amount of sugar is added and after the mixture is seeped again. Once this is done, it is just needed to cool down the mixture.
The “horchata” can be found at any ice cream shop. But only a few are producers. In Elche a good place to taste artisan horchata is the terrace of Helados Illice, in Glorieta Square. They make their own horchata very near from this terrace.