VALHALLA, N.Y. -- The idea for The Twisted Branch in Valhalla came out of a vacation White Plains resident Rich Cozza took a couple of years ago.
He and his wife had visited a small shop that sold olive oils and vinegars while camping in the Adirondacks and the idea of owning such a place stuck in the back of Cozza's mind -- for years.
And so, last fall the telecom engineer and his family decided it was a "now or never situation," -- despite the fact that Cozza has no food background (other than being Italian and being a cooking enthusiast). He partnered with his sister and brother-in-law and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Twisted Branch opened in mid-April and has been busy ever since.
Cozza said he chose Valhalla as it has that "perfect balance between small town feel, complementary businesses on the same block (with free parking), and lively foot traffic." Plus, it's close to home.
So far, he said he's having a blast both meeting new customers and stocking the store. The Twisted Branch carries more than 50 different infused and traditional olive oils and vinegars and is adding more all the time.
There's a new “spice library," made up of about 30 different spices spanning an array of cultural planes.And coming soon: Market items like fresh mozzarella and antipasti items.
Gifts are also big sellers. "Whether its for a birthday, wedding favors, shower favors, host/hostess gifts, you name it… we can accommodate it," he said.
Aside from the store's retail offerings, The Twisted Branch also offers events with private tastings in house or off-site including cooking demonstrations and informatinoal classes. Cozza also participates in the White Plains Farmers Market every Wednesday.
Among the most popular Twisted Branch items: the Garlic Mushroom Olive Oil, Fig Balsamic and Killer Bee Honey Hot Sauce.
Tasting is encouraged. "That’s one of the most important points we like to stress," said Cozza. " I really believe you should know and like what you are purchasing before walking out with it."