Valencia is known for its horchata – a drink made from chufas (tiger nuts) served either liquid or granizada (slightly frozen), and accompanied by long, thin cakes called fartons. Legend has it that the name horchata was coined by Jaume I, shortly after he conquered Valencia. He was admiring the huerta one hot afternoon, and an Arab girl offered him a drink so refreshing that he exclaimed, “Aixó es or, xata” (this is gold, girl).
There are horchaterías all over the city: the two oldest are Santa Catalina (daily 8am–9pm; t963 912 379) and El Siglo (daily generally 8am–9pm; t963 918 466), both in Plaza Santa Catalina. One of the better-known spots to cool your throat is Daniel, Avda. de la Horchata 41 (daily 10am–1am; closed mid-Dec to Feb; t961 858 866, whorchateria-daniel.es; mPalmaret), where you can sit on the breezy terrace. In the historic Mercado de Colón, try the excellent La Casa de l’Orxata (daily Mon–Fri 7.30am–10.30pm, Sat & Sun until 2am; t963 527 307, wwww.casadelaorxata.com), who make their smooth horchata with traditional methods and organic ingredients, and sell it from street carts around town.
Traditionally, however, the best horchata comes from Alboraya, formerly a village in the Valencian suburbs, now absorbed into the city – take metro line #3. One old-time spot is Subies, Carretera de Barcelona in the Almássera neighborhood of Alboraya (daily 8.30am–11pm; t961 854 673), where three generations have been honing their craft.