Browsing Tag

Gourmet Latino Festival



June 28, 2010

By Ted Henwood Photos courtesy of Leblon

A last-minute email inspired me to purchase a ticket to the inaugural Gourmet Latino Festival that kicked off June in New York, offering a slew of experiences in Latin-inspired foodie-fun. Over the course of the weekend long festival 40 gifted chefs and a horde of highly regarded drink-makers huddled together to celebrate the culture and gastronomy of Latin America. Levantameurtos (awaken the dead) Foods & Cocktails, a brunch celebrating regional Mexican dishes paired with morning cocktails, was my first choice (morning drinks — right on). It was such a delight that it inspired me to stick around and poke my greedy snout into the next room for a tasting seminar on Brazilian food and cocktails.

Upon entering, my nose was struck by the wafting scent of culinary delights that author and chef Leticia Moreino-Schwartz had created to entice us. The most amazing was her Pão de Queijo, which I might shamefully describe as a cheesy, delicate, chewy, non-greasy, tiny-and-cute Hushpuppy. An apparent staple in Brazil, this little bun has been obviously perfected by her.

The seminar commenced with speaker Olie Berlic, the un-official Ambassador of Brazilian Rum, as he fired on all cylinders raging about his favorite white liquor. His commitment to leave a permanent impression and convert many to his devotion for this Latin spirit was truly infectious.

And thus, armed with Olie’s inspired spiel and a belly full Leticia’s Pão de Queijo, I now stand ready to talk Brazilian Rum…and what first must be declared: Brazilian rum does not exist!

Ok, “Brazilian Rum” exists, but merely as a legal term created by the American government to categorize a South American spirit. Well, maybe another government somewhere on our globe makes the same gaffe, but, according to Olie, Brazilian Rum does not exist in Brazil. Why? Because in South America’s largest country (and the only Portuguese speaking country in all the Americas) the spirit that is distilled purely from the fermented juice of fresh pressed cane is called — Cachaça!

And Brazil loves its Cachaça. Loves it so darn much, that it ranks Continue Reading…



June 7, 2010

By Francine Cohen

If you’ve been thinking lately that we’ve been very spirited in our editorial focus, you’d be right. It’s been an exciting time for drinks events these past few months, starting with the Absolut Sensory Experience which was an eye opening exploration of vodka that just may be the kick in the pants that many bartenders needed to revisit this category (more on this later), and a recent visit to NYC by Japanese cocktail master, Kazuo Uyeda (inventor of the Hard Shake and owner of Tender Bar).

Uyeda-san’s message was heard loud and clear by bartenders who took subways, buses, taxis and planes to be present and learn from a living legend. The two day seminar was a cultural exchange in which the audience was enlightened about the exacting and consistent Japanese approach to style, technique, and, above all, pleasing the guest through service and attention to deliver the most delicious drink (*Factoid: Uyeda-san mentioned the words “delicious” or “deliciousness” a minimum of 20 times each day. It definitely drove the point home.). The Tender Bar approach to crafting that perfectly delicious cocktail is an effort that exhibits the same amount of detail, finesse and grace as a Japanese tea ceremony. For more about this two day East meets West drinks exploration see this story:

Following right on the heels of this bit of international beverage bonanza a number of those same out-of- town bartenders returned for the inaugural NYC drinks fete/conference/ party that celebrates the mighty cocktail and is known as The Manhattan Cocktail Classic ( – affectionately referred to as the MCC). Embraced by their NYC brethren, many of these said bartenders were quickly put to work batching drinks for the masses who were about to descend upon the MCC gala. And, while all of them had bar backs, only a few lucky ones (namely Ricky Gomez, Danny Ronen, and Charles Steadman) had the assistance of Oompa Loompas as they manned the Willy Wonka themed bar showcasing Remy Continue Reading…



June 2, 2010

Three INSIDERs can win tickets to Gourmet Latino Festival Seminars

What do you know about the Mezcal trail, the foods and national spirit of Brazil, and the wines and cuisine of Chile? Just enough so that you’ve whet your appetite and want to know more, or are you so knowledgeable that you bleed Pisco and make tamales in your sleep?

Whatever your level of expertise with the food and drink of Latin America you won’t want to miss out on the chance to win tickets to this weekend’s Gourmet Latino Festival.

We’ve got three pairs of tickets to give away for the following seminars (one pair per seminar, details on winning after the jump):

Pairing Perfection: Chile’s Top Wine Regions Paired with Classic Chilean Dishes
With Chef Jacques Gautier, Fred Dexheimer and Jorge Perez
Saturday, June 5, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The Mezcal Trail: Travel Through the Seven Regions of Mezcal With Chef Roberto Santibañez and The Liquid Chef Junior Merino
Sunday, June 6, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Feel the Spirit of Brazil and Crank Up the Heat with Brazilian Food & Cocktails!
With Author/Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, Olie Berlic, Vicente Bastos Ribeiro and Steve Luttmann
Sunday, June 6, 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

This celebration of Latin culinary traditions and culture offers up a lively and tasty educational seminar series featuring food, cocktail and wine luminaries discussing and sampling authentic Latin dishes and drinks, as well as their interaction and cultural significance.

“I’m very proud of the level of the chefs, cocktail experts and sommeliers who are participating in our seminar program,” said Steve Olson, aka wine geek and beverage ambassador of the festival. “Moreover, it’s quite unique that the beverage and culinary sides will be presented simultaneously, as an organic whole, in all of our seminars. In the Latin world, the two always go hand-in-hand and we are thrilled to honor this tradition and provide this complete experience to New Yorkers and visiting out-of-towners.”

The festival and its seminars benefit Continue Reading…



May 22, 2010

A first for the socially and taste conscious
By Darren Atkins

New York is no stranger to a festival. There is the German festival, the Italian festival, the Greek festival; even Gay and Earth Day festivals. However, the Gourmet Latino Festival ( at The Astor Center in New York City (, June 4-12, is the first of its kind. Emphasizing the spirit of the Latin people and their zest for life, culture and history, the festival celebrates this spirit through an exploration of Latin gastronomy and a social awareness of Latino food production. Throughout the week innovative Latin chefs, mixologists and taste masters will showcase their talents through the flavors and culture of Latin America and delve into the flavors and passions that have helped shape a community.

Gourmet Latino festival director Karen Uribe says, “At this festival, there will be many different events from grand tastings, to seminars and talks, all of which are about celebrating Latin culture and really trying to get people to see the diversity and different nuances from countries including Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay.”

The cuisines of these countries will shared through the talents of many Latin culinary experts who are lead by Chef Aaron Sanchez Chef/Owner of Centrico and Paladar restaurants in New York, and Steve Olson, beverage expert, savant and principle in the firm aka Wine Geek. Sanchez, who grew up in the kitchen of his mother, Zarela Martinez, recognized as the foremost pioneer for introducing and promoting Mexican food to North Americans, couldn’t help but appreciate the need his fellow New Yorkers to have a clearer understanding of Latin food. He comments, “Finally the time has come, where I think enough chefs are creating distinctive styles of their food, for us to create an event that’s just not some homogenized regurgitation of food that’s been done and done before.”

Distinctive Latin spirits and beverages are also on the menu as featured mixologists Junior Merino, Giuseppe Gonzalez and Andrew Seymour will be showcasing spirits and wines that have been preserved in Latino tradition. Sanchez continues, “You can’t have food without a great spirit or wine, Continue Reading…