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GLUTEN-FREE BAKED PENNE WITH SPICY SAUSAGE

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by Debra

I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to Italy five times in the last 18 years; my first trip was a two-week stint with a group of fellow college students as part of a team to help renovate an apartment space for a pastor of a local church in Rome. It was the very first time I’d ever been out of the US; I’d just met The Professor a few months prior – we were good friends but we weren’t dating. That trip changed my life in a lot of ways but most significantly, it opened my eyes to an entire culture different than my own. And even though The Professor and I were just friends, I knew I wanted to make another trip and take him with me.

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Fast-forward 18 years and The Professor and I have now made multiple trips to Italy; mostly work-related trips but we’ve also been able to squeeze in days of exploring regional foods, shops and tucked away small villages where bicycles and walking are the only mode of transportation. My spirit longs for Italy when I’m home, and I feel at peace when I’m standing on Italian soil; it might be because my maternal grandmother’s family were immigrants from the southern part of Italy or maybe it’s because we now have good friends who live there – I’m not sure, really – but we love Italy and her people.

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Which brings me to this post – The Professor and I will be heading back to Italy again this summer for a nearly six-week visit; The Professor is taking a group of 14 students to Italy to shoot food stories and then he’ll be teaching at a University in the Marche region. I’m tagging along to assist with the students but I’ll also be helping at the Jovial Getaways that are scheduled during our stay.

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I’ve written about Jovial many times in this space; in fact, they have been a client of ours for the past few years but I’ll also tell you that the brands we work with are brands we really do use – and that everything I write here are my own words, my own opinion, and my own experiences. So when I tell you that the Jovial Getaways have not only been a wonderful way to meet new people who become good friends, they’re also a terrific way to explore Italy while staying in a gorgeous, completely restored 18-century villa and eating authentic Italian cuisine made with some of the most gorgeous meats, cheeses and produce I’ve ever seen and tasted.

And the other news? Jovial is giving away a trip to one of their Getaways for one winner and a guest; airfare, accommodations, hands-on cooking classes and so much more.

I can wax poetic about Italy as well as the Jovial Getaways but honestly, the sights, the sounds, the flavors of Italy are something you need to experience first-hand. I’d love to see one of our readers win – it really is a trip of a lifetime!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol H

Debra – I just saw this! Six weeks!!! So very happy for you!

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Stacy

I’ve only been to Italy twice but adored both trips, so I’d love to win the trip and go again. We’d have the MOST fun!

Reply

Debra

Stacy ~ we’d definitely have a BLAST!!!

Reply

Betsy @ Desserts Required

I can have my bag packed in ten minutes! I can, easily, understand why you are drawn to Italy and know you will have an incredible trip. Who knows, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to join you!

Reply

Debra

I hope you win Betsy – it really is a trip of a lifetime!

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