Culinary delights help build cultural bridge between China and Italy

(Xinhua) 10:55, September 08, 2023

NANCHANG, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Italian chef Andrea has been bustling around the hotel cafeteria lately, as the business is picking up rapidly along with the post-pandemic recovery of the cultural and travel industry.

The executive chef at the Swiss Grand Nanchang in east China's Jiangxi Province said he is very pleased to see the business improving. "Now we receive an average of 120 customers a day."

Italy, a country along the Belt and Road famous for its culinary treasures, has garnered the appreciation of Chinese consumers through its exquisite cheese, pizza, and pasta. This encouraged Andrea to come to China to seek opportunities.

"The Belt and Road Initiative has built a bridge for Sino-Italian cultural exchanges, and food is an important part of cultural exchanges," Andrea said. "I'm happy to be a messenger of cultural communication so that more Chinese people can learn about Italy through food."

Having relocated to China for work, he developed a deep appreciation for Chinese cuisine and married a Chinese girl. In 2020, amidst the pandemic, Andrea and his family decided to settle in Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi.

"At that time, many medical workers were on the frontline of pandemic prevention and control, and they made great efforts to protect us. My team and I decided to support them by offering delicious food, which has the power to soothe people," Andrea recalled.

During that period, Andrea and his colleagues worked from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m., cooking up to 3,000 meals daily.

"Although it was hard work, seeing the surprise when the medical staff received the food made it all worth it," he said.

Andrea was deeply touched by the resilience and unity of the Chinese people during the pandemic. It is also in the process of working with the Chinese people to fight the pandemic that he has forged a stronger and more meaningful bond with the city.

Andrea started to place greater emphasis on engaging with local customers, understanding their preferences and crafting a diverse range of dishes that blend the distinctive elements of both Chinese and Italian cuisines. This approach has successfully drawn numerous customers eager to savor his creations.

His recent hit is a Chinese-style tortellini. "This new tortellini, stuffed with typical Italian ingredients and Nanchang rice noodle sauce, creates a fascinating flavor, and became a sought-after cuisine after its roll-out," Andrea said.

"I hope that the Belt and Road Initiative will bring more Italian ingredients into the Chinese market so that I can make more cuisines with authentic flavor and contribute to building a gastronomic bridge between China and Italy," he added.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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