Silvia Marchetti

Silvia Marchetti

Silvia Marchetti is a Rome-based freelance reporter. She covers finance, economics, travel and culture for a wide range of international media. Silvia has a master degree in journalism and has lived abroad most of her life in Switzerland, Russia, Holland and Indonesia. She’s fluent in four languages.

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Latest from Silvia Marchetti

How halva, baklava and Turkish delight were baked into Chinese cuisine centuries ago, and the mooncake’s Arabian cousin

Sweet treats China considers its own today have their origins in ancient Turkey, Persia and Arabia. Mooncakes have an Arabian equivalent and may be derived from pastries brought to China in Roman times.

Sweet treats China considers its own today have their origins in ancient Turkey, Persia and Arabia. Mooncakes have an Arabian equivalent and may be derived from pastries brought to China in Roman times.

28 Oct 2021 - 12:45PM
Explainer | Penne, tagliatelle, linguine, tortellini, vermicelli – pasta’s myriad shapes and their colourful names

Linguine (little tongues), penne (little pens), vermicelli (little worms), monk chokers, little bombs and more – the amazing variety of pasta names and shapes.

Linguine (little tongues), penne (little pens), vermicelli (little worms), monk chokers, little bombs and more – the amazing variety of pasta names and shapes.

30 Sep 2021 - 7:20PM
Did churros, beloved in Spain and Portugal, come from China, where fried dough sticks have been eaten for centuries?

Spain and Portugal have long laid claim to churros, but it’s been suggested early Portuguese traders brought them back from China, where fried dough sticks have been eaten for hundreds of years.

Spain and Portugal have long laid claim to churros, but it’s been suggested early Portuguese traders brought them back from China, where fried dough sticks have been eaten for hundreds of years.

6 Sep 2021 - 11:44AM
Cheese in China has a long history – made with buffalo, yak, goat’s, cow’s and sheep’s milk, and everywhere from Taiwan to Tibet and 16th century Shanghai

China has made cheese for at least 1,200 years, from buffalo, yak, cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk, and everywhere from Taiwan to Tibet. A tradition of making buffalo cheese survives in Guangdong near Hong Kong.

China has made cheese for at least 1,200 years, from buffalo, yak, cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk, and everywhere from Taiwan to Tibet. A tradition of making buffalo cheese survives in Guangdong near Hong Kong.

6 Aug 2021 - 7:54PM
From bananas to mangoes, Europe grows tropical fruit – and you can thank global warming for that

Forget the fig trees and olive groves of old – thanks to climate change, an increasing amount of European farmland is being dedicated to the growth of tropical fruit.

Forget the fig trees and olive groves of old – thanks to climate change, an increasing amount of European farmland is being dedicated to the growth of tropical fruit.

16 Jul 2021 - 12:15PM
Jesuit’s rich portrait of 17th century China, as told to a Florentine scientist, intrigued a fragmented Europe

Almost 400 years after Marco Polo, Father Johann Grueber travelled east to China. An account of his travels was presented in Lorenzo Magalotti’s Relazione della China.

Almost 400 years after Marco Polo, Father Johann Grueber travelled east to China. An account of his travels was presented in Lorenzo Magalotti’s Relazione della China.

11 Jul 2021 - 2:15PM
From spaghetti to fusilli, why artisan pasta made with love by Italian family-run businesses is worth the money

Benedetto Cavalieri pasta costs three times as much as Barilla spaghetti, and the Martelli family’s yearly outputs equals what a giant firm makes in four hours. Premium ingredients and slow production techniques make their pasta special.

Benedetto Cavalieri pasta costs three times as much as Barilla spaghetti, and the Martelli family’s yearly outputs equals what a giant firm makes in four hours. Premium ingredients and slow production techniques make their pasta special.

18 Jun 2021 - 1:03PM
Travel after the coronavirus pandemic: Chinese tourists will initially stay in Asia-Pacific, experts say, and head outdoors for custom experiences

Experts predict that Chinese and East Asian tourists will want customised itineraries and outdoor activities in Asia-Pacific once international travel rebounds after Covid-19.

Experts predict that Chinese and East Asian tourists will want customised itineraries and outdoor activities in Asia-Pacific once international travel rebounds after Covid-19.

22 Jun 2021 - 9:53AM
The Chinese and Japanese extra-virgin olive oil producers beating Italians and Spanish at their own game

Chinese production of extra-virgin olive oil has soared in recent years, while Japan has a 100-year history of making it. Their oils regularly win awards in competitions that pit them against Spanish and Italian EVOOs.

Chinese production of extra-virgin olive oil has soared in recent years, while Japan has a 100-year history of making it. Their oils regularly win awards in competitions that pit them against Spanish and Italian EVOOs.

28 May 2021 - 5:09PM
Sushi around the world, from California rolls and Philadelphia rolls to Italian su-sci with burrata, mortadella, olives and other Mediterranean ingredients

Sushi chefs in Japan rarely take risks with recipes, but in the rest of the world they add non-traditional ingredients, from the avocado in California rolls to the cream cheese in Philadelphia rolls and local rice in Italy.

Sushi chefs in Japan rarely take risks with recipes, but in the rest of the world they add non-traditional ingredients, from the avocado in California rolls to the cream cheese in Philadelphia rolls and local rice in Italy.

30 Apr 2021 - 8:02AM
Five private island owners talk about getting away from it all to detox, recharge or wait out the coronavirus pandemic

Five owners of private islands tell us how it feels to possess their own little slice of paradise, from a Taoist’s ‘quiet thinking’ spot in Nova Scotia to a businessman’s atolls in the Philippines and an islet off Sicily.

Five owners of private islands tell us how it feels to possess their own little slice of paradise, from a Taoist’s ‘quiet thinking’ spot in Nova Scotia to a businessman’s atolls in the Philippines and an islet off Sicily.

26 Apr 2021 - 6:15PM
Explainer | The history of the dumpling: from ravioli to wonton to gyoza, why they all belong to the same food family

The dumpling is one of the foods most associated with China, and ravioli a signature Italian dish – but scholars say it is unlikely either place can claim credit for inventing them. The first people to wrap dough around a succulent morsel were probably in the Middle East.

The dumpling is one of the foods most associated with China, and ravioli a signature Italian dish – but scholars say it is unlikely either place can claim credit for inventing them. The first people to wrap dough around a succulent morsel were probably in the Middle East.

26 Mar 2021 - 1:14PM
How sharing snacks, from tapas to dim sum and meze, feeds a primal need in us all

Sharing snacks is a tradition around the world, from tapas in Spain to dim sum in China and meze in the Middle East and North Africa. According to anthropologists, it is an important bonding experience for humans.

Sharing snacks is a tradition around the world, from tapas in Spain to dim sum in China and meze in the Middle East and North Africa. According to anthropologists, it is an important bonding experience for humans.

31 Jan 2021 - 2:41AM
Spanish paella: from humble peasant meal to rice dish famous around the world, and loved by Asians

Spanish paella, with the staple ingredient of rice giving it inherent Asian origins, is today a popular dish around the world. It has a colourful history.

Spanish paella, with the staple ingredient of rice giving it inherent Asian origins, is today a popular dish around the world. It has a colourful history.

26 Jan 2021 - 6:16PM
Curry puffs: how a Portuguese snack arrived in Southeast Asia in the 1500s and became a hit across the region

Curry puffs may have been named by the British, but centuries earlier, Portuguese traders introduced the empada – a kind of pie – to Southeast Asia. Now, most countries in the region have their own variation of the popular snack.

Curry puffs may have been named by the British, but centuries earlier, Portuguese traders introduced the empada – a kind of pie – to Southeast Asia. Now, most countries in the region have their own variation of the popular snack.

12 Jan 2021 - 10:48AM
Tamales, adobo, leche flan – Spanish, Mexican dishes Filipinos took as their own, along with New World fruits such as tomato, avocado, and papaya

Dishes such as adobo, ingredients such as beef, and cooking techniques such as baking entered the Filipino kitchen from Spain and its New World colonies and were adapted to local tastes during hundreds of years of Spanish rule.

Dishes such as adobo, ingredients such as beef, and cooking techniques such as baking entered the Filipino kitchen from Spain and its New World colonies and were adapted to local tastes during hundreds of years of Spanish rule.

6 Jan 2021 - 1:03PM
Indonesian food with a colonial twist: how the feast of rijsttafel, or rice table, became a social tool and status symbol

A hybrid feast of Indonesian dishes, rijsttafel, or rice table, was inspired by a tradition of indigenous communal eating that Dutch colonists turned into a social phenomenon.

A hybrid feast of Indonesian dishes, rijsttafel, or rice table, was inspired by a tradition of indigenous communal eating that Dutch colonists turned into a social phenomenon.

16 Dec 2020 - 12:30PM
Chin-chin! How a Chinese drinking toast became popular in Europe

Frequently used for toasts in Britain, Italy and France, the phrase ‘chin-chin’ has Chinese origins and was imported to Europe after the Renaissance period.

Frequently used for toasts in Britain, Italy and France, the phrase ‘chin-chin’ has Chinese origins and was imported to Europe after the Renaissance period.

9 Dec 2020 - 3:55PM
How Asia fell in love with real Neapolitan pizza, and the disciples who learn from Naples about true pizza making

Pizza makers from Naples, home of the original pizza, have travelled the world, opening schools and training locals to make authentic Neapolitan pizza. Some of these chefs have since opened their own pizzerias in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Pizza makers from Naples, home of the original pizza, have travelled the world, opening schools and training locals to make authentic Neapolitan pizza. Some of these chefs have since opened their own pizzerias in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

2 Dec 2020 - 5:18PM
How Jill Biden could lead the recovery of a Sicilian village: ancestral home hopes for tourist revival with White House connection

Jill Biden is on track to become the first Italian-American first lady, and the village in Sicily her great-grandfather left for the United States plans to use the connection to boost tourism and help recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jill Biden is on track to become the first Italian-American first lady, and the village in Sicily her great-grandfather left for the United States plans to use the connection to boost tourism and help recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

17 Nov 2020 - 2:56AM
Story of the pistachio: the nut’s origins in the Middle East, and how Italy grows the finest variety, newly popular in China

First planted in the volcanic soils of Sicily by the ancient Romans, who brought seeds from the Middle East, the Italian island’s pistachio orchards produce the finest variety of the ‘smiling nut’. Now Sicilian pistachios have new fans in China.

First planted in the volcanic soils of Sicily by the ancient Romans, who brought seeds from the Middle East, the Italian island’s pistachio orchards produce the finest variety of the ‘smiling nut’. Now Sicilian pistachios have new fans in China.

8 Nov 2020 - 6:21PM
How anise went from medicinal plant to raki, sambuca, ouzo and pastis ingredient

Drinks flavoured with anise were used as medicines for thousands of years, before distillers turned them into aperitifs and digestifs such as raki and pastis, popular around the Mediterranean.

Drinks flavoured with anise were used as medicines for thousands of years, before distillers turned them into aperitifs and digestifs such as raki and pastis, popular around the Mediterranean.

21 Oct 2020 - 12:59PM
Secrets of the Italian rice used in risotto – and the rice paddies of Little China where it grows

Ask someone to name an Italian rice variety and, if they answer at all, they will probably say Arborio or Carnaroli. But these are just two among the 200 varieties grown in the rice paddies of Piedmont and Lombardy near Milan.

Ask someone to name an Italian rice variety and, if they answer at all, they will probably say Arborio or Carnaroli. But these are just two among the 200 varieties grown in the rice paddies of Piedmont and Lombardy near Milan.

24 Aug 2020 - 1:12PM
Foods made of blood around the world: dishes, recipes and why people eat them, from the protein to the supposed sex boost

Both Asian and Western culinary cultures feature blood recipes deeply rooted in local traditions, with many foods and dishes seen as gourmet delicacies or sought-after for supposed medicinal purposes.

Both Asian and Western culinary cultures feature blood recipes deeply rooted in local traditions, with many foods and dishes seen as gourmet delicacies or sought-after for supposed medicinal purposes.

6 Aug 2020 - 7:31AM
Did fish sauce in Vietnam come from Ancient Rome via the Silk Road? The similarities between nuoc mam and Roman garum

Nuoc mam in Vietnam, nam pla in Thailand, patis in Philippines – Southeast Asian fish sauces bear a startling similarity to garum, prized by ancient Romans. Could their fish sauce have travelled along the ancient Silk Road?

Nuoc mam in Vietnam, nam pla in Thailand, patis in Philippines – Southeast Asian fish sauces bear a startling similarity to garum, prized by ancient Romans. Could their fish sauce have travelled along the ancient Silk Road?

28 Jul 2020 - 8:46AM
Was ice cream invented by China or Italy? Its history can be traced back to 1200BC

Ice cream can be traced back to 1200BC and Mesopotamia, and early versions were invented all over the world; the turning point came during the Renaissance when the modern gelato emerged.

Ice cream can be traced back to 1200BC and Mesopotamia, and early versions were invented all over the world; the turning point came during the Renaissance when the modern gelato emerged.

22 Mar 2021 - 10:03AM
An island for less than the cost of a tiny city apartment? Escape to Scandinavia or Great Britain

Live the Robinson Crusoe lifestyle with all the mod cons on one of these beautiful islands where social distancing is not an issue

Live the Robinson Crusoe lifestyle with all the mod cons on one of these beautiful islands where social distancing is not an issue

11 Jun 2020 - 12:40AM
The real story of eau de cologne: neither French nor German, the perfume with roots in an Italian medicinal drink

It may have a German city in its French name, but eau de cologne was made by an Italian man – and it was originally sold as a medicinal drink, not as a type of perfume. A museum dedicated to its true origins has opened in Italy.

It may have a German city in its French name, but eau de cologne was made by an Italian man – and it was originally sold as a medicinal drink, not as a type of perfume. A museum dedicated to its true origins has opened in Italy.

25 May 2020 - 2:46PM
Private islands for sale in Europe, from Italy to Finland to Ireland – birds, not beaches, forests, not palm trees, and with prices primed to fall

You won’t find beaches or tropical weather, but instead views of mountains, and wild birds for neighbours, if you buy a private island in Europe. From the lakes of Finland to the seas off Greece, privacy can be yours.

You won’t find beaches or tropical weather, but instead views of mountains, and wild birds for neighbours, if you buy a private island in Europe. From the lakes of Finland to the seas off Greece, privacy can be yours.

6 May 2020 - 8:00PM
Chinese noodles not the inspiration for pasta, historians say, its roots are in ancient Greece – and they have the texts to prove it

Pasta was eaten in the Mediterranean region many centuries before Marco Polo was born, and China wasn’t the influence people think, say food historians. Ancient texts and artefacts from Pompeii bolster their argument.

Pasta was eaten in the Mediterranean region many centuries before Marco Polo was born, and China wasn’t the influence people think, say food historians. Ancient texts and artefacts from Pompeii bolster their argument.

24 Mar 2021 - 3:01PM