Originating from 1890 and having hosted kings, popes and presidents in its opulent carriages, the Presidential is Portugal’s most iconic luxury train. Since being restored in 2010, this heritage has been celebrated, as the nostalgia of traveling by rail through the Portuguese landscape is revived. And now, with each journey it sets out on, the train plays host to a unique gastronomic expedition, inviting some of the world’s greatest culinary talent aboard to showcase their skills.
The May 2017 edition will host a series of esteemed chefs, beginning with Maaemo’s Esben Holmboe Bang, the world’s youngest chef to have been awarded three Michelin stars, and Pedro Lemos of the Michelin-starred namesake restaurant in Porto. While Esben focuses on the natural ingredients of Norwegian cuisine by recomposing them to create new and exciting plates, Pedro reveals his passion for Portuguese terroir, traditions and culture in innovative culinary creations.
The Presidential train follows a path through the Douro Valley, where Douro and Port wines are made from the grapes that grows on picturesque slopes overlooking the Douro River. This valley is home to a number of celebrated wineries, including the historic Quinta do Vesuvio estate where vines were first planted alongside the grand manor house in the early 19th century. And while much of estate is now planted with vines, around two-thirds of the land remains wild, with oranges, lemons, almonds, olives and figs all growing in abundance.
Passengers step aboard the Presidential train in Porto, at the 100-year-old São Bento railway station, before being shown to their individual cabins and served a four-course tasting menu with wine pairing in the restaurant carriage. Lunch is then followed by an exclusive wine-tasting at Quinta do Vesuvio estate, before re-boarding the train to catch live music in the bar carriage.
While these one-day journeys give a taste of the Presidential rail experience, the three-day package goes on to include further exploration of the wine region with a private driver, gourmet meals in Porto’s top restaurants, and overnight stays in two of the region’s most luxurious hotels. From Intercontinental Palácio das Cardosas – a historic palace overlooking Liberdade Square in Porto – guests move on to the award-winning Six Senses Douro Valley where a 19th-century manor house sits on a hill overlooking the valley’s vines.
To find out more about The Presidential train journeys, go over to www.thepresidentialtrain.com.