Hora Media already in the name brings to the roots of a land, the Umbrian one, mystical and full of spirituality due to the presence of the saint of Assisi and the founder of the monasticism St. Benedict of Norcia.
From the Middle Ages to the present day
And Benedictine is the origin of the splendid Abbazia di San Pietro in Valle which houses Hora Media, Carla and Alessandra’s restaurant, a timeless place where you can enjoy traditional yet innovative dishes, the result of a revisited local cuisine. An area strongly characterized by the medieval architecture of small villages but also overwhelmingly green with many botanical paths, as well as a land that leaves the visitor the taste for discovery.
And there are many discoveries that we have made sitting at the table of Hora Media while enjoying the traditional products reworked in the typical Umbrian recipes that Carla in the dining room and Alessandra in the kitchen define “the survivals of historical cuisine”.
The past and history are the protagonists here not only in the dishes but also in the panorama that can be enjoyed from the terrace overlooking the ghost village of Umbriano and in the sober furnishings of the restaurant with its mighty stone walls, which once housed an ancient guard house of the abbey complex and which now resounds with a symphony created by the tinkling of plates, glasses and cutlery on the basis of a melodious medieval music.
Everything contributes to creating the perfect atmosphere for a lunch or dinner based on authentic and intense flavors, artfully prepared to enhance the taste of Umbrian wines. But what completes it fully are Carla’s words and smiles, which can be perceived despite the mask, with which we chatted amiably for the duration of our dinner, learning a lot about Umbrian cuisine in a single evening, especially Valnerina and of the Terni area, and on the right combinations of dishes with strong tastes with wines of good structure and aromatic complexity that must stand up to them.
Not only. We learned a lot about local oils with a mini tasting curated by Carla: it was really very fascinating to listen to her food and wine knowledge linked to the passion for the historical evolution of local cuisine.
And, of course, we followed her advice to the letter, tasting the well-kept selection of Valnerina cold cuts and cheeses served with local honeys. We also really appreciated the artisan roasted mortadella, a product not linked to the territory but proposed in an original and delicious way together with a green apple sorbet.
In the first dish local elements such as potatoes and truffles are back in the ravioli filled with these ingredients served with a very delicate cream of zucchini.
Last but not least, a dessert that is beautiful to the eye and delicious to the palate: the parfait with zabaglione with vinsanto in a chocolate shell with sour or wild cherries.
The wine we tasted deserves more than two words, a nectar that we discovered thanks to Carla and her excellent advice. Always ready to make new wine experiences, it was not difficult to convince us to taste the Ciliegiolo di Narni from the Fabrucciano winery. The winery is relatively young, having been founded in 2010 in Narni Scalo, a medieval town in the province of Terni and has Giovanni Posati as its patron. Its flagship is precisely the Ciliegiolo di Narni in purity, typical of these areas and already present in the area in the Middle Ages.
A native vine that was being lost over time and that managed to survive extinction thanks to the passion of a few producers who continued to cultivate it while, almost everywhere, it was uprooted to make room for more commercial varieties.
Experts in cherries, coming from one of the towns where the Ferrovia variety is produced, we quickly understand where the name of this wine derives from. Perfume and aroma immediately recall the fruit and also in the glass it has an intense red color while on the palate it is soft. The tannins, intense and full, are able to perfectly cleanse the palate from the fatness of meats and cheeses but also accompany the flavor of potatoes well.
But it is not only the wine that intercepts our curiosity. We also talked for a long time with Carla about olive oil, also chosen for the kitchen and table of Hora Media among the excellence of the territory. The one used is produced in Ferentillo in the village of Matterella by the La Drupa agricultural company, heir to the ancient Argenti oil mill which until 1884 was based in an ancient convent dedicated to Santo Magno just outside the town.
It is an organic oil based on the most widespread and typical cultivars of the area: moraiolo, leccino and frantoio, pressed by the ancient millstones called molazze. We definitely like its bitter and spicy taste.
And we also really like the stories that are told to us by these two women extraordinarily in love with their land that they promote very well by taking people by the throat. In fact, after dinner we went back to them who wanted to meet our Otto and we lingered to chat for a while. And so we also learned that the now so fashionable flavored oils are often actually reinterpretations of ancient customs. An example? The citrus fruit with melangola, an ancient variety of bitter orange that has almost completely disappeared, takes up the tradition of signaling the presence of an oil mill through the plant of this fruit.
Hora Media has a seasonal opening, from Easter to the first week of November, but throughout the year it offers themed evenings, cooking classes, medieval banquets with entertainment by actors and musicians.