Cognac, chateaus and charm

TEXT: JULIE LINDEN | PHOTOS © BRAASTAD OPPLEVELSE

For a century, the Braastad name has been synonymous with bottled quality, flavour and finesse. Today, the Cognac brand’s home, Chateau de Triac, by Jarnac in western France, offers far more than exclusive golden drops. Here, you may delve into a world of experiences, activities and luxuries − all while guided by members of the Braastad family.

When the adventurous Norwegian Sverre Braastad married into the French Tiffon family in 1913, the union manifested two love stories – that with Edith Rousseau, his companion since the turn of the century, and that with Cognac, a life-long passion. The Tiffon Cognac House had been founded in 1875, and Edith was heiress to the enterprise that was to go on to establish itself as a world-class success story.

A world-leading family brand

It would take until the end of the First World War before Sverre and Edith officially took charge of the company. Today, succeeding generations manage the success and legacy of the Tiffon and Braastad names – all from Chateau de Triac, the original location of this world-leading Cognac House.

“We’re lucky to have had such a prolific grandfather,” says Patrick Braastad, one of Sverre’s grandchildren. He recounts how his grandfather, a father of eight and grandparent of 25, lived to be 100 years old – maintaining his love for Cognac, the region and the chateau throughout his life. “He was a successful man who knew his craft, and he developed a brand we are proud to have kept in the family for all this time.”

The family is delighted to be able to offer Braastad Opplevelse (‘Braastad Experience’) as a complement to those wanting to learn more about Cognac in the district where it is produced. “Here, you can come close to the production – and there is something for everyone,” Braastad promises.

A personal experience

It is much due to the brand’s combination of passion and familial feeling that the interest for Braastad remains undeniably strong. Furthermore, the family’s direct, hands-on approach to welcoming groups to Chateau de Triac, adds a personal touch to the experience.

“Everyone who visits the Chateau is greeted and guided by members of the Braastad family, and we are able to give an insider’s perspective on the production. There are lots of stories and anecdotes that are told, to great excitement,” Braastad laughs.

Whether you are a Cognac connoisseur, an aficionado in the making, or just an avid admirer of the quaint French countryside, Braastad Opplevelse has an experience just for you. Each and every group visiting the chateau benefits from the Braastad family’s extensive knowledge of the Cognac region, including nearby Cognac Houses, vineyards, golf courses and activities.

Tailor-made – from Cognac to cake

“We can tailor a visit to suit your group, and we take care of all the logistical aspects,” says Braastad, waiting for a new group to arrive at Bordeaux airport at the time of our interview. “We enjoy good, long-standing relations with nearby Cognac houses in the district, and impressive wine districts such as Bordeaux are just a drive away. We can also arrange for bike tours, car tours, boat trips on the river and golf days or tournaments,” he adds. Braastad himself is a certified golf instructor with more than 15 years of experience, and gladly offers his expertise to visiting golfers.

Another popular choice is to make the most of the region’s famous cuisine, and either opt for an evening at one of the nearby Michelin-awarded restaurants – or why not enjoy a private dinner in the chateau’s dining room, with the family’s selection of own wines and Cognacs? Perhaps you want to take your stay one step further and book a course in the art of French pastry making? You may also incorporate a presentation on Cognac production, and end your stay by blending your own.

A taste of Braastad in Norway

But it is not only in Cognac where the Braastad family has maintained its roots. Sverre Braastad’s old home in Gjøvik, Norway, designed by noted architect Arnstein Arneberg, serves as a stunning conference and event location. Here, you may choose to host your business event, wedding, confirmation or celebration of your choice, trusting that your event is in the best of hands. Perched 360 metres above sea level with panoramic views of lake Mjøsa, this second home of Braastad lives up to the name’s grandeur.

“We’re proud of the setting, history and framework we’re able to provide with both locations. Our story engages people – and we hope to welcome many more,” Braastad concludes.

Web: braastadopplevelse.no

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