Thursday, April 1, 2010

Contest: Olive Garden Offers Guests Once-in-a-Lifetime Trip to Italy

Italian food lovers have the chance to win a trip to Culinary Institute of Tuscany

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 1, 2010) — Now through May 9, 2010, Olive Garden is offering Italian food lovers a chance to win a culinary tour of Italy and an insider's look at Olive Garden's Culinary Institute of Tuscany. The sweepstakes, co-sponsored by Olive Garden and Colavita® Extra Virgin Olive Oil, will reward:

- Four grand-prize winners with an eight-day guided trip for two to explore and discover the sights, sounds and tastes of Italian culture.

- 500 first prize winners will be awarded a $25 Olive Garden gift card.

For more than a decade, Olive Garden's Culinary Institute of Tuscany has served as a training ground for Olive Garden's chefs and restaurant managers. Located in a restored 11th-century village in the Chianti region, the Institute is where Olive Garden's chefs learn the secrets of great Italian foods – like how to combine fresh ingredients to create authentic meals they can share and enjoy with family and friends.

"At Olive Garden, we're committed to bringing our guests the great food and hospitality of Italy every time they join us," said Tim Rea, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Olive Garden. "Since the Culinary Institute of Tuscany opened 10 years ago, we've been able to more uniquely share that Italian experience, offering our sweepstakes winners a flavorful excursion to Italy and taking them beyond their neighborhood restaurant to where we gather our inspiration – the kitchens and marketplaces of Tuscany."

Highlights of the grand-prize trip include:

• Learning the essentials of authentic Italian cooking from master Italian Chefs Paolo Lafata and Romano Neri the Culinary Institute of Tuscany;

• Experiencing the local culture and cuisines of Rome, Florence, San Gimignano and Riserva di Fizzano, near Castellina in Chianti; and

• Exploring the Rocca delle Macie Winery to learn about the process of Italian wine-making through a wine tasting and pairings class.

Guests can enter to win at The sweepstakes accepts entries from March 15, 2010 through Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

About Olive Garden:

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with 715 restaurants, more than 87,000 employees and $3.3 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest company-owned and operated full-service restaurant company. For more information, visit Olive Garden's Web site at