Celebrated as the first luxury train in Portugal´s booming tourist scene, last year’s “Vila Joya no Douro” paired the legendary 2 star Chef Dieter Koschina, of Algarve´s “Vila Joya”, with a selection of Niepoort´s finest wines and an impressive list of the country’s best products, in what founder and executive curator Gonçalo Castel-Branco described as “a fantastic trial, that has now matured into The Presidential- a world class luxury experience”.
The new format, now named for the iconic train that shapes and inspires it, will continue to showcase the world’s best culinary talents - all of them Michelin stared -, the best of the world famous Douro and Port wines and the Portugal´s best products, throughout 17 one-day trips in May of this year. Each voyage starts and begins in Porto, and caters exclusively to 60 guests.
Two of this year’s five Chefs have already been announced - Maaemo´s Esben Holmboe Bang, the youngest 3 Michelin starred awarded chef in the world, will be in charge of the first week (3rd to 7th of May), and the second week will begin with local rising star Pedro Lemos (10th and 11th of May), of Porto´s Michelin starred Pedro Lemos restaurant.
“Anytime you get the opportunity to work on a 1890´s train that once hosted Kings, Popes and Presidents, your mission is exceedingly simple - to respect its amazing heritage and do everything one can to make sure every product aboard is up to its historic standards” said Gonçalo Castel-Branco, that not only created the format, but also personally curates all the products aboard, which in 2016 included details like the soundtrack designed by Oporto´s Casa da Música or designed fragrances by Castelbel.
The one day experience begins in the S. Bento train station, a 100 year old relic that is well worth the visit to begin with. As guests board the Presidential train, they will each be shown to their 6, 3 or 2 person cabin - all with original furniture and exquisite details. The 4 course tasting menu with wine harmonization is served in one of the Presidential´s three restaurant carriages - with 32, 20 and 16 seats respectively, always in the classic 4 person tables.
After the meal, the train arrives at the magnificent Quinta do Vesúvio- the most exclusive and iconic of the Douro wineries, where guests will enjoy a rare Port wine tasting. After boarding once more, guests will discover the restaurant carriages transformed into a bar carriage with live music, a tea room and several other treats for their journey back to Porto.
International guests can also enjoy the 3 day Presidential Six Senses Premium pack - a carefully crafted experience that includes a private 24hour PA/driver, gourmet meals at Oporto’s best restaurants, overnight stays at 5 star Intercontinental Palácio das Cardosas hotel, the Presidential experience and, before returning to Oporto, an overnight stay and spa treatment at the award winning Six Senses Douro Valley.
Tickets and additional information are available at: www.thepresidentialtrain.com.
The individual rate for The Presidential is 500 euros (VAT inc.), for the one-day ticket, which includes the voyage aboard the Presidential train, the 4 course menu with wine harmonization prepared aboard by the guest Chefs, exclusive access to the Quinta do Vesúvio with Port wine tasting, the bar carriage with live music, the tea room carriage and gift bag with signed collectors book.
The individual rate for The Presidential Six Senses Premium Pack is 5000 euros (VAT inc.), for the three-day pack, which includes 24 hour PA/driver and car, dinner at Pedro Lemos, overnight at Intercontinental Hotel, the voyage aboard the Presidential train, the 4 course menu with wine harmonization prepared aboard by the guest Chefs, exclusive access to the Quinta do Vesúvio with Port wine tasting, the bar carriage with live music, the tea room carriage, gift bag with signed collectors book, overnight and spa treatment at Six Senses Douro Valley, diner at Gaveto, overnight at Intercontinental and private tours our Casa da Música and the Fundação de Serralves.
ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL TRAIN
The crown jewel of the Portuguese Railway, the Presidencial Train transported Kings, Presidents, Heads of State and Popes for more than a century. Built in 1890, it served the Court of D. Luís I as its Royal Train, hosting aboard guests as reputable as Her Majesty the Queen Elisabeth II and His Holiness the Pope Paul VI. Rebranded as the “Presidential Train” in the turn of the century, it served the nations Heads of State until 1970, when it was officially retired from circulation.
Exquisitely restored in 2010, it maintains its original furniture and charm and can be found on display at the National Railway Museum in Portugal, as the most iconic treasure in our nations railway history.
ABOUT CHEF ESBEN HOLMBOE BANG
Esben Holmboe Bang is the head chef and co-owner of Norway’s ground-breaking three Michelin starred Restaurant- Maaemo. He was born and raised in Copenhagen, but has spent most of his culinary career in Oslo. The Norwegian terroir is a relatively unknown treasure of the international culinary world, but it is something that Esben is passionate about exploring. Esben’s cuisine is focused on creating an experience around the clean, bright flavours of Norway, using entirely organic, biodynamic, or wild produce.
Maaemo - an old Finnish word meaning “Mother Earth” - builds around its local produce driven cuisine with a focus on reflecting the changing seasons and the raw nature of Norway. "We opened Maaemo to have something that we felt was the right way to let Norwegian nature shine through on the plate,” explains Esben. It’s a bold style of cooking that has won the young chef a legion of fans and a listing as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Chefs in the World and Elite Traveler Magazine’s 2016 Young Chef of the Year. In 2012, just 14 months after opening, Maaemo was awarded two Michelin stars in its first ever mention in the prestigious guide, becoming the first, and only, restaurant in the Nordics to do so. In 2016, Maaemo was awarded a third Michelin star, making Esben the youngest chef to currently hold Michelin’s highest accolade and the first ever in Norway to do so. Maaemo was also listed No.61 in the top 100 restaurants in the world at the 2016 World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, and No.29 in the top 100 restaurants in the world by the influential Elite Traveler magazine.
Esben grew up in a family where there was a great deal of emphasis on sustainability and agriculture, and much of the chef’s inspiration comes from nature. Esben’s focus is on not diluting the natural flavor and quality of the raw ingredients. Esben’s playful tasting menu takes Norwegian food and strips it back to its bare essentials before recomposing it in an entirely new narrative.
ABOUT CHEF PEDRO LEMOS
Pedro Lemos is one of the most innovative young Chefs in Portugal and a rising star in the northern cuisine. A lover of the local terroir, culture and traditions, he studied Engineering before discovering his calling: to make people happy through food.
Moving to Lisbon to start in the renowned Pestana Palace, he soon discovered his taste and flair for portuguese ingredients and their rich history, which catapulted him into head chef of Quinta da Romaneira. His identity and style are both unique and evocative, and have earned his self named restaurant not just the respect of gourmands worldwide, but the honor of being one of only 3 restaurants in Oporto to have earned a Michelin star.