Valencian company Terra i Xufa recently launched Antara, a new and original organic tiger nut (chufa) beer. Initially launched on the local market in Valencia, the quirky new beverage also caught the attention of international pundits when it was shown at Biofach 2012 – indicating that this local company could be on to a big idea.
Thought to originate in Egypt, tiger nuts were introduced to the Valencian region in the 8th century by Arab invaders, who used them in cake making. Although not nuts as such, these tubers do have a nutty taste and are highly nutritional, combining fibre, protein and natural sugars to create a foodstuff rich in minerals.
In Spain, but particularly in Valencia, tiger nuts are mixed with water and syrup to create the popular drink of horchata or orxata. So important is horchata to the Valencian people that it’s production is closely monitored by the Consejo Regulador, which regulates its Denominación de Orígen, in much the same way as wine regulatory bodies do.
Horchata is served ice cold in bars and restaurants across the region of Valencia. It has proven health benefits, reducing cholesterol, risk of heart attack and easing some renal deficiencies. Lactose intolerant people can drink it as a substitute for milk and, due to its low sodium and high iron and magnesium content, it can be recommended to children, expectant mothers, athletes and the elderly.
Terra i Xufa have created a blend of carefully selected wheat, barley and tiger nut to produce an unfiltered and unpasteurised organic chufa beer. Sold through specialist stores and bars throughout Valencia, Antara has been well received, as you would expect from an area where the tiger nut is king. So when the company decided to exhibit the beer at Biofach 2012 in Germany, there was much speculation as to how it would be received by the most revered beer-drinking nation in the world.
Over 2,500 exhibitors from 86 countries attend Biofach, one of the largest trade fairs in the world promoting organic products. Terra i Xufa welcomed the opportunity to introduce the fair’s 40,000 visitors to their new and exciting product, and was thrilled with the feedback received. Manager Enric Navarro commented that it clearly demonstrates how people are beginning to understand and appreciate the nutritious and healthy properties of the tiger nut – a fact that bodes well for the Valencian horchata industry.