Start preparing for a week-long celebration of the best in Latin gastronomy and culture as the weather starts to heat up. This June, from the 4th through the 12th, Gourmet Latino will feature events at Astor Center and at restaurants in NYC and surrounding areas. In addition to offering the best tastes of the Latin world, this festival is dedicated to being a socially conscious celebration. They are partnering with GrowNYC, the Rainforest Alliance and the Fair Trade Federation to ensure the festival will be a benefit to all involved. Street teams will be appearing around town, giving out exotic fruit samples, in lieu of paper handouts. How refreshing! For a schedule of events, information on participating chefs, mixologists, and restaurants visit www.gourmetlatinofestival.com. Tickets are already on sale—be sure to reserve a space now to experience the incredible flavors and exotic ingredients of the top talents in the city. I got a sample of what’s to come at the announcement party—see photos of the food and cocktails. Photo above shows Rayuela’s Chef Maximo Tejada’s Squid Ink Paella served in oyster shells, nice touch.