When what you love to do in your spare time becomes possible as your full-time occupation, that’s Kismet, and you know the result will be the fruit of pure passion.
The Twisted Branch Olive Oil & Tap Room just opened at 24 Broadway in Valhalla, and already the new store is getting a reputation as a “must visit destination.” Chefs from some of the more popular eateries in Westchester already have made the discovery and The Twisted Branch is on their regular shopping routes.
White Plains residents and brothers John Cherico and Richard Cozza and Richard’s wife Erika have partnered to put the new business together.
The idea for a specialty shop had been discussed among the partners for several years, but when in November 2014 it looked like they had the opportunity to finally make the jump – John was leaving the corporate world and Richard was moving on from his job in IT – they took the business plan to the fast track and opened the store in a little over four months.
The shop is full of delicious add-ons that finish off a special entrée, appetizer, pasta or salad or make that cup of coffee or tea something you want to linger over.
“We stocked the shelves with things we like, products we had found and use,” Richard explained.
From an Italian family where the kitchen is the center of the household, both John and Richard grew up with inquisitive palates. Richard became known for his olive oil finishes to pizza and pasta dishes. His wife Erika discovered early in their marriage that he had a special aptitude for taking anything she cooked to the next level and she was happy to let him do it.
The result is that Richard has experimented for years with different olive oil and balsamic vinegar recipes. He also knows what oils he prefers and where they come from.
The shop features oils and vinegars imported from Italy, Spain, Chile and Tunisia. The Twisted Branch works with a flavor infusing company based in California. Each product is created to exact specifications and bottled on site in Valhalla – where the products for sale carry the Twisted Branch name.
When traveling for his job in IT, Richard would often spend time in California and Seattle, WA. “Oil and vinegar tap rooms are quite popular on the West coast,” he explained. “I was already hooked on the concept and was shipping product back home for my personal use. That’s how I got involved in the network, which made it easy to set up the business so quickly. I had already done much of the work.”
Infused and flavored olive oils such as Basil, Blood orange, Sage & Onion, Tuscan Herb, Garlic Mushroom, Sundried Tomato and White Truffle, among others are on the menu.
Dark Balsamic Vinegars include Black Mission Fig, Honey Ginger, Raspberry, Pumpkin Spice and traditional. The White Balsamic Vinegars include Cranberry, Bittersweet Chocolate with Orange, Coconut, Strawberry peach and Anjou Pear.
There are many other flavor selections on the lists as well as gourmet wine vinegars and special flavors created for each season.
If you have no idea what you might like, The Twisted Branch has 100 percent biodegradable and consumable tasting cups and spoons and bread cubes for sampling.
In fact, Richard says they will have Arthur Avenue bread delivered fresh each morning for customers to purchase.
On his Seattle trips, Richard also indulged in the gourmet coffee culture of the West Coast and the shop offers a signature small batch coffee. The Twisted Branch prides itself in working only with small, family owned plantations.
Coffee is for sale in biodegradable cups to sip from on the spot or bags to take home.
Because Erika is a tea drinker master tea blends from Harney & Sons can be found on the shelves along with local honey from a bee farm in Connecticut – there’s a Killer Bee Hot Sauce – gourmet and flavored salts – there’s a Ghost Pepper salt – flavored cane sugars and hand blended spices.
Richard has been busy developing recipes which he will post on the store’s website at www.TheTwistedBranch.com where you will also find a complete selection of items for sale in the store as well as online. There will also be a blog for sharing taste experiences.
If you work or live in White Plains, The Twisted Branch will be a vendor at the White Plains Farmers Market every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning April 29.
The Twisted Branch is located at 24 Broadway, Valhalla, NY 10595; 914-437-8000. Store hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 12 to 6 p.m.