BY ANN KLINCK
February 14, 2017
The Branch and The Vine, Olive Oil and Vinegar Tasting Room, opened its doors October 2016, bringing a new flavor to East Calder Way. The Branch and The Vine carries 40 varieties of balsamic and olive oil. They have spicy flavors like jalapeno and red pepper olive oil, and some on the sweet and savory side such as bacon and white truffle olive oil, many of which are shipped from Modena, Italy to Garnet Valley, PA and then retrieved by co-owner Tom Tate. Once he has the oil and balsamic in State College, he begins the process of bottling the products for sale. Customers can purchase these bottles or mix and match for a custom flavor profile. The unique flavors in the balsamic and olive oils can be used in a variety of different ways. Balsamic isn’t just for salads, Tate uses the fig balsamic on pork chops as a glaze. If you’re looking for different ways to incorporate balsamic and olive oil into your meals, check out The Branch and The Vine Facebook page for all sorts of yummy recipes.
While the olive oils and balsamic are great for cooking, some people choose to drink them for the taste and health benefits. Olive oil helps fight breast and skin cancer, prevent Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis, and it is of course good for skin and hair. Balsamic is good for the heart. Tate recommends the lime balsamic for drinking with some type of seltzer or fruit juice; for a tasty, heart healthy treat. While some do choose to sip the olive oil or balsamic, there is bread offered from State College’s own Gemelli Bakers to sample the product on in-store.
In addition to balsamic and olive oil The Branch and The Vine has a lot of other great products to offer. One of their best sellers is the Maple Bacon Onion Jam. Tate says you can put it on almost anything: bagels, burgers, toast for an added kick of flavor. Dips, sauces, and salsas are also available. The Branch and The Vine will soon be selling wine from University Wine Company and will have a tasting bar for such. They also sell Light of Hope Candles and Locher Candles, for which the profit goes to the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON). Gift baskets can be custom ordered and feature your favorite products.
The Branch and The Vine is thoroughly weaving themselves into the community. They partner with Gemelli’s Bakers for bread, and support local artists Ed Davis and Todd Raymond Krout. Krout’s and Davis’s artwork is displayed on the walls of the store, and is available for purchase. Avant Garden, a neighbor to The Branch and The Vine, has additionally worked to help decorate their storefront. Tate said they have felt so welcomed into the downtown area.
With fellow co-owner Kevin Kassab being a health officer for the Borough of State College, and Tate having worked at numerous restaurants and food markets both men know good service and good food. They are ready and happy to assist with all your shopping needs. So, whether you’re treating yourself or someone else, The Branch and The Vine has a comfortable shopping experience with a great line of products and is definitely worth a visit. Find them at 246 East Calder Way, between McAllister Alley and McAllister Street. The hours of operation and contact information can be found below.
Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Ann Klinck is one of three Downtown State College Improvement District interns for the Spring of 2017. She is a junior at Penn State majoring in public relations, with intended minors in Spanish and political science. She is also on the executive board for the Public Relations Student Society of America. This is Ann’s second semester with the Improvement District, and she has loved getting to know business owners and community members. Her favorite part of the position is being able to help others discover all the unique beauty that lies in the heart of Downtown State College.