It was either karma or a bit of old Italian luck that brought Dominique Frione and Karen Spina together at odd times over the years.
They kept running into each other while the two, both registered nurses, worked together or saw each other around the Hill section of New Haven.
"We always liked each other," said Frione, who many years later lives in Clinton with her husband and son.
Spina, who now resides in Madison with her family, ran into Frione again about a year ago at a big gathering.
"You know Karen is your cousin through marriage," said one of Frione's aunts.
And thus the friends turned into cousins. And what do old friends and new cousins do? They open a business together.
Thus began Two Cousins Biscotti, LLC. Frione's great-grandmother Nonnie, from Amalfi, Italy, is their proud mascot/logo.
"I felt as if no one is making the traditional Italian biscotti anymore and keeping the old traditions alive," said Frione.
Many varieties of biscotti are available to purchase through local shops (see list below) not at their wholesale bakery which is located in Clinton.
A year ago, the two rented a small space on Route 81 for their bakery. The light and bright yellow kitchen holds their ovens, mixers, refrigerator, workspace and most important - a coffee maker.
They make old-fashioned, all-natural biscotti with no preservatives or artificial anything. They hand zest the lemons and add real, fresh ingredients.
Their "traditional" biscotti contains pistachios, almonds and cranberries. The sweet lemon pepper has Grand Marnier, lemon zest and crushed pepper - a delightful combination. There's also a chocolate cherry almond, anise and lemon, and cinnamon sugar with cloves and almonds.
Baking is their specialty. Frione said they received a welcome boost from SCORE, the non-profit organization that helps business owners who are starting out, stuck in the middle, or failing.
"They were like mentors to us," said Frione. Not only is the service free, but they helped Frione and Spina develop a business plan, itemize the cost of all items, formulate a projected sales plan, etc.
Their shop behind and adjacent to on Killingworth Turnpike is their wholesale space. You cannot purchase biscotti from this location.
Where you can purchase the Two Cousins Biscotti, LLC offerings is at the following stores and online at their website.
The Cooking Company
Bradley & Wall
Forte's Gourmet Foods
Guilford Food Center
Centerbrook Cheese Shop
The Local Beet
Coffee's Country Deli
Amarante's Sea Cliff Inn
P and M Deli
Romeo and Cezar's Deli
Edge of the Woods
Roma's Italian Deli and Catering
Mercedez Benz of Danbury
Natural Food Center
South Side Market and Catering
Publics Market and Catering
Cavallo's Italian Deli
How easy was it for Frione and Spina to market their biscotti to all those shops and locations?
"Just taste it," said Frione, offering up a plate of biscotti. "They are made from the heart."