Umbria: Welcome to Terni

Marmore Falls

Truffles: how I love them! Just the smell alone is enough to make me crave some pasta with grated truffle on top.

When Tom Weber, The Palladian Traveler, and I were invited to spend a weekend savouring the delights of the Terni area of Umbria, the first thing I thought of was the wonderfully hearty Umbrian food, its robust wines and, of course, its famous truffles.

We were invited to Terni, home to the famous Marmore Falls (pictured above) in Umbria by GAL Ternano – Terni’s Local Action Group – who were promoting the delights of this lovely region. Their emphasis is on its history and its spectacular landscape – a mecca for agriturismi (farmhouse-type accommodation) – plus the typical foods and wines produced locally.

Our arrival time was arranged for 17.00 at Ristorante Piermarini in the little town of Ferentillo. Arriving punctually, Tom and I agreed that we were extremely interested in the idea of a visit to Piermarini, as this is the restaurant which was recently chosen by Eataly to represent the Umbrian region at EXPO 2015 in Milan. Famous for its truffles and cooking school, Piermarini is nestled in idyllic pastoral surroundings, just outside the town.

Terni Umbria l ©ornaoreilly.com

The farm of the Piermarini family – Primo and Paola along with their daughter Carol – also produces high quality olive and black truffle oils, as well as farro (wheat grain, also known as spelt) and lentils. They have one thousand olive trees on their farm.

The cooking school is very popular and at the end of the classes the students move to the dining room where they sit down to taste the dishes they have created during the class. These dishes are paired with suitable local wines. There are even classes for children as young as five years old.

Apparently, the best months for truffles in Umbria are January and February and the Piermarini family organise truffle hunts with their highly trained dogs, followed by cookery classes on how to cook truffles.

Terni Umbria l ©ornaoreilly.com

Highly trained truffle-hunter

Terni Umbria l ©ornaoreilly.com

Primo demonstrated how to make tasty pizza-type tomato bread, then effortlessly whipped up a batch of picchiettini pasta.

Escorted into the kitchen, we were shown slabs of vacuum packed truffle, which had been grated and frozen. To cook them, Primo warmed some olive oil with big cloves of garlic – which he subsequently removed – and the thawed, vacuum packed truffle was then mashed into the warm oil. This was served up later at dinner with the picchiettini. Delicious!

Picchietti with black truffles

Picchiettini with black truffles

Tom chatted to Paolo Silveri, who has been mayor of Ferentillo for the past eleven years,

Tom Weber with Paolo Silveri, Mayor of Ferentillo

Tom Weber with Paolo Silveri, Mayor of Ferentillo

plus various dignitaries from GAL Ternano, including its president Albano Agabidi.  They told us how they had been restoring monuments locally and have restored 180 over the past ten years. They are especially proud of the frescoes in Arrone, which were, happily, on our schedule for the following day.

Overtaken by hunger, after seeing all this incredible food being prepared, we queued eagerly for some prosciutto crudo – which had been cured on site – carved by Primo himself.Terni Umbria l ©ornaoreilly.com

Our wonderful home-produced dinner consisted of lentil soup (of course, it’s Umbria) with olive oil; the aforementioned picchiettini with truffles; roasted pork with vegetables and a medley of desserts.  We drank Trebbiano Spoletino, which was a perfect pairing.

Stay with me for a series of blogs on Umbria, which I will bring to you over the next few weeks.

Orna O’Reilly

Veneto, Italy

#umbriatourism #regioneumbria #ternitolove

22 thoughts on “Umbria: Welcome to Terni

  1. Your photos are great. What a fun day. I went truffle hunting when I was in Le Marche a few years ago. That is an experience that I will always remember. Fantastic. I actually am not a fan of the taste of them which is a shame as we had so much we were giving them away.

    • Thanks Jennifer. Yes. How brilliant to begin to learn to cook real, home-grown Italian food at such an early age. We did have a great time sampling the various delights that Terni has to offer.

  2. That was the first evening only; a prelude to two further days of being shown around the area by well-informed locals – plus, of course, eating and drinking a variety of the local fare. But the truffles that first evening were superb. 🙂

  3. We have a house in Castel di Lago(Arrone) and have been to Piermarini several times and we have never been disappointed! Thinking about doing the truffle hunting tour when we are back in Umbria in January! Umbria is wonderful and absolutely the real Italy ❤

  4. Orna, I am really enjoying your wonderful blogs, what a beautiful country, photographs are amazing, a visit to Umbria is a definite Yes!

  5. Pingback: Umbria: A Quick Visit to Amelia | Orna O'Reilly: Travelling Italy

  6. Pingback: Umbria: Lunch at a Vineyard | Orna O'Reilly: Travelling Italy

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