FQ Editor Sally-Ann Mullin reviews Beretta at Bracu
We’re 45 minutes south of Ponsonby and with rolling green fields either side of us I’m already convinced that the drive has been worth it for the colour therapy alone (for the uninitiated, the colour green is supposed to promote balance and harmony – who doesn’t need that in their life, right?!) Of course, there’s a good chance that the slick Mercedes Benz CLA250 I’m currently test driving has added to the experience.
Looking the part in our temporary transportation, we pull up to the award winning and oft-celebrated restaurant, Bracu, set on the property in a tastefully refurbished kauri villa. But we aren’t here just to be wined and dined (although more on that later). After a short wait by the open fire we are greeted by our guide, Nick and shuttled down to the Beretta shooting arena, nestled amid the stunning 96 hectare olive grove of the Simunovich Olive Estate. Nick enthusiastically gives my male accompaniment and I a Beretta history lesson, summarising the illustrious 500 year old Italian gun manufacturer in less than five minutes. This is a brand he so obviously loves working with and it’s easy to see why. When we learn that some of these hand carved guns are worth upwards of $150,000 we feel pretty privileged to be able to be let loose with them.
We decide on a friendly wager to set the tone (because who doesn’t love a little healthy competition?), the overall victor to receive a bottle of (good) wine, with trusty Nick as the referee. There are rounds of knife throwing (harder than you would think), archery, pallet hand-gun shooting (hard not to imagine oneself in an American crime film, I must say), and lastly, our favourite activity of the day, claybird shooting over the lake with Beretta shotguns. The competition is neck and neck but somehow – whether it’s down to my opponent’s chivalrous nature, or my last minute success in claybird combination shooting – I am named the winner.
Smugly (some of us more so than others), we head back to Bracu, a walk which takes us past the gardens where a lot of the produce for the restaurant is grown and sourced, and the olive grove and plant where the oil is pressed and bottled. Waiting for us at the restaurant is a four course dinner overlooking more greenery. The food is delicious; my monkfish cooked in wakame infused buttermilk is a delight.
My final verdict? Having come into it thinking the Beretta at Bracu experience would be a very male-centric one, I’m pleased to report that I can’t remember enjoying a day out as much as this in a long while. I am already planning on gifting my father and brother a package for Christmas – and not just to see whether I can beat them both in the arena.
Beretta at Bracu packages start from $89. Head over to www.berettaatbracu.co.nz or email email@example.com to book.