On The Go With Wine Whisperer Christoph Pichler

Zurich has a reputation for being quite expensive, that’s nothing new. For example, at 4.00+ CHF, a run-of-the-mill espresso costs four times as much as it does in Italy and more than double the price you’d pay for an espresso in Munich.

So when I’m in Zurich I prefer to concentrate on things, which offer a unique experience. And considering the standards and quality level are extremely high in the city – and in Switzerland in general – there are many fantastic places to choose from.

I hadn’t been to Zurich for about a year and was getting the itch so I decided to call my friend Christoph (Pichler) and ask what was new and exciting with the city’s eclectic culinary offering. Within 30 seconds I realised I couldn’t get there quick enough. So I loaded up my bike a few days later and headed out.

Christoph and I met approximately six years ago when I was working on a project in Zurich and living there for a few months. He’s been in the fine wine and rarities game for over 10 years and what I liked about him right away is the fact that he was a high-level wine freak without the snob factor.

In addition to being a wine pro, Christoph is an avid outdoorsman (fly fishing, mushroom hunter, urban cyclist) and bread-baking savant. Want to hear someone geek out on yeasts, dough fermentation and other things I have no idea about? Christoph is your guy.

Cycling in Zurich is very popular but a lot of the bike paths are close to or criss-cross traffic lanes. So unless you feel very secure riding in or in close-proximity to traffic, it may not be a bad idea to walk or take the tram while discovering the city.

Our tour started in Binz (what was for years an industrial quarter but is now an up-and-coming hotbed for foodies and imbimbers), to be more specific, at the Smith & Smith HQ, where Christoph is Director of the fine wines department. And located right next door is Smith & De Luma, a gastro partner project between the wine company and the well-known steak specialists. After having given me a tour and priming ourselves with a glass of handcrafted cider, which was opened in a spectacular fashion by GM Mark Müller, Christoph gave me a quick run-down of our planned tour that day:

Zurich’s hottest coffee shop, aptly named COFFEE
FORK & BOTTLE, Zurich’s first craft beer specialists
A Michelin Star Lunch at Fabian Spiquel’s MAISON MANESSE
A quick stop off at THE ARTISAN, an urban garden concept restaurant
Followed by an aperitivo and sit-down with Alexander HELLBERG
And closing with a later dinner in Zurich’s hottest restaurant, GAMPER

And just as we were about to begin our ride, I was pleasantly surprised to see a bike shop located next door to Smith & Smith, or better said, a frame-builder… WIM KOLB. So first things first…

Enjoy the tour.