During the years he spent in Switzerland, Timothy Heide befriended an American chef who worked in the same area, and together they traveled to oil and vinegar shops in the region. Over time, Heide cultivated a plan to open his own oil and vinegar boutique upon returning to the United States.
Now, Heide strolls across the terra-cotta-hued floors of Taste It!, his own shop, encouraging patrons to sample the olive oils and vinegars he cares so much about on cubes of bread. On the shelves, glass bottles and jars form sleek ranks that include Mediterranean-region olive oils steeped with the flavors of tangerine or slow-roasted chili. More neutral oils, such as the mild, fruity Morroccan arbequina, add to meals without overpowering them. Balsamic vinegars, aged for 18 years and infused with vanilla or bordeaux cherry, can be drizzled over ice cream or used to make memorable salad dressings.
As he slips among the shelves, Heide also sometimes brews complimentary cups of coffee or cappuccino for patrons. He hasn’t stopped dreaming of new outlets for his energy, and plans to open a wine cellar in the summer of 2012 and a cotton-candy attic when the technology is available.