Taste the World at The Nittany Lion Inn

The Nittany Lion Inn has long made a niche for itself for its old world charm, inventive and delicious food and unmatched guest happiness. Over the past few years, there has been something else putting The Nittany Lion Inn on the map – its love for international wines. It started when Sean Caviston, The Dining Room's operational manager, began training with the Court of Master Sommeliers of North America. As he studied each region and how soil, climate and technique influenced unique wines, he created dining experiences at The Dining Room to share what he'd learned.

The result was “Tastes of the World” Wine Dinner Series – an event suited both for the most experienced wine connoisseur and interested novice – where education about a wine-making region is combined with a five-course meal from that area that perfectly paired wines with dishes.

Every other month, the globe spins and you are transported to a new location where you can enjoy a gourmet meal paired with that area's very best wines. The journey has gone to to Australia with marinated emu paired with Australian Shiraz, to Portugal with Bolinho de Bacalhau (salt cod fritters) with Crasto from Douro Valley.

Sean is now a certified Sommelier, but in true Penn State fashion, the learning never stops. The next destination for Tastes of the World is New Zealand, and you won't want to miss it.

New Zealand is most famous for its distinct representation of Sauvignon Blanc’s from the Marlborough region on the South Island, but its wine industry over the past decade has begun to show they are more than just one grape variety. Pinot Noir, the second most planted grape variety in New Zealand, shows it can compete on a world stage. New Zealand’s wine industry accounts for 1.13% of the world’s wine but with this small slice of the pie they have made a big name for themselves.  “My research has me hunting down some varieties few of us ever consider New Zealand would produce. It should be a fun and educational evening.” Sean says.

Chef Kirsch has done some homework, too. To ensure that you are going to experience some of New Zealand’s best, he will be preparing Kiwi Meat Pie (largely consider the national dish), New Zealand Lamb (considered to be the best in the world), and Pavlova (a meringue-based dessert named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavalova). It is believed the dessert was created in honor of the famous dancer after a tour of New Zealand in the 1920’s. These are just a few of the exciting foods he has in mind for our dinner.

Wine Spectator Magazine has noticed The Dining Room's dedication to wines and recently bestowed it with a “Best Of” Award of Excellence. It is the first restaurant in the State College area—and only the 18th in the state—to earn the award. Wine Spectator’s ranking system is considered to be the industry standard by which restaurants and vineyards mark their progress and exclusivity. While The Dining Room has been on Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence list since 2002, this is the first year that they achieved the coveted “Best of” designation. The variety of the restaurant’s wine offerings were one of the factors that led to the designation.

Save your spot now for the New Zealand Taste of the World Wine Dinner! Choose a reservation time and party size for a one-of-a-kind wine event! Reservations for the November 9 and 10 dinner are available by calling 814-865-8560.

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