I had what can only be described as a blessed day yesterday. It began with the realization, very early in the morning, that winter is almost over. I went outside to feed Charlotte and noticed that the lawn on the courtyard outside my kitchen was becoming green again.

With a spring in my step I took my basket off to the village fruit and veg shop and did my fresh produce shopping and stopped for a quick coffee at Scusi, where everybody shared my mood.
I’ve been awarded the very great honour of being the resident food writer on the soon-to-be-launched new website of First Sighting, so – next – I went shopping for styling props that will only be used with the food I cook for them. I spent the afternoon experimenting in the kitchen for my first article, which will feature their Shiraz. My kids (my step-daughter has been with us for the past few weeks and returns to Cape Town today) reaped the rewards of sticky short ribs and potato wedges.

I almost ran out of time and had to hurry to get ready for the evening; I’d been invited to attend a wine tasting with Winestyle magazine at the Intercontinental Sandton Sun Towers Hotel. The event was a ‘pros versus punters’ challenge: 3 wine industry professionals and 3 individuals who simply enjoy wine would blind-taste 6 wines (the bottles wrapped in brown paper bags so that the labels were hidden). The pros were Miguel Chan (Group Somelier for Southern Sun International), Carrie Adams (co-owner of Norman Goodfellow’s and radio personality) and Keith Dudula (wine merchant at Norman Goodfellow’s).
Intimidating company for us punters: Thembi Machaba (Organisational Development Consultant at SA Breweries), Ricardo Gouveia (a handsome young man who is ‘in property’) and moi. I won’t say too much about the evening, you will have to wait for the next issue of the magazine (which is delivered free to subscribers in South Africa and available online to overseas readers). All of us are to be feature in the mag; we’re going to a photo shoot on the 30th.

Our hosts for the evening were Jenny and Jeanne (from the magazine) and young winemaker Haidee Marklew of Marklew wines (she gave me a half-bottle of her beautiful 2005 Merlot to bring home).
We finished earlier than the time I’d arranged for my driver to fetch me and the very chivalrous Ricardo sat with me to wait, with a glass of wine and the Sandton skyline as a backdrop.

I little observation I made during the evening was how divided opinions are about Sandton. I think it is monstrous, others thought it breathtaking and were effusive in their admiration of the views. What do you think?


64 Comments Add yours

  1. deepercolors says:

    Sounds like you are feeling better. Glad you had a good day.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Caro, happy birthday, whenever it is the 21st over there … 😉

  2. Sounds like a fabulous day, and congratulations on the food writing gig! As for Sandton, I think it looks amazing from your photo…

    1. theonlycin says:

      I prefer ‘old’ Johannesburg, Celia, it is far more gentle and gracious … Sandton is so hard and new.

  3. Greg says:

    Happy to hear you’re back to health Cinders!

    Noticed the same thing about the imminent departure of Mrs. de Winter: the birds are coming back to the garden, and starting their morning chorus noticeably earlier. The dusty Highveld is in desperate need of a solid shower to cleanse the air, and then we should be good to go again. Personally, I’ve really suffered this season and can’t wait to see the back of it.

    Can’t believe you’re making us wait to hear/see the outcome of your wine challenge. I reckon the punters take the honours…

    The Sandton skyline is terrific. Shows the planet that we ain’t some bush-bound backwater. It wouldn’t work for me if the entire stretch from the CBD through to Sandton look like that though. That would be a little much. The fact that we have the pleasure of leafy views over the old suburbs between the city and Sandton is just as important.

    That us Jozi-burgers have the pleasure of being able to take afternoon tea on the balconey of the Westcliff Hotel as we take in that fabulous view over the suburbs with their glorious Jacaranda trees, and then move 10 minutes down the road to have dinner overlooking the twinkling lights of Sandton is a fantastic thing.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’ve had a particularly hard winter too, Greg, can’t wait to see the back of it.
      Sandton scares me, everything about it; the people and their reuthless destruction of the environment.
      You’ll have to wait for your magazine to arrive 😉

  4. Tandy says:

    BIG congratulations for all your good news xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you my sweet friend 🙂

  5. leigh says:

    Well done, you deserve it…been reading about bunnies as pets – they’re quiet, cute and like to chew 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      They are, but they are high-maintenance 😉

  6. schoolmatterspaloalto says:

    I think Sandton is hideous.

  7. dearrosie says:

    In my humble opinion I didn’t like Sandton. It’s just another huge mall.
    The 3 tall buildings in the lowest photo made me feel as if I were seasick. Do you know who the architect was?

    1. theonlycin says:

      I thought it was the same architect who designed the Soweto stadium (the doughnut) for the SWC, but it appears I was wrong. I will try to find out.

  8. Leeswammes says:

    You are definitely lucky, Cindy. How nice to be invited for a wine tasting. I wonder whether the pros and the hoobyists agreed about the wines?

    1. theonlycin says:

      It was reassuring to see the pros unsure at times 🙂

  9. Tilly Bud says:

    Congrats on the new gig!!

  10. MissChris says:

    I know summersacummin cause there is a decided spring in my step and my heart feels lighter – winterscloak is definately lifting off me!!!
    Those ribs look yummmy!!!!
    Have a great day.

    1. theonlycin says:

      You too Chrissie 🙂

  11. sue chef says:

    Congratulations, how exciting for you! How does one subscribe to the mag?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Just go to http://www.wine-style.co.za and mosey around, you’ll find a subscription link, Sue 🙂

  12. Tes says:

    You are very very lucky 🙂 And I’m happy to hear all the good news 🙂

  13. (I had the same feeling about winter this morning!)

    I love the newer buildings in Sandton

    1. theonlycin says:

      I really don’t Leon, they look predatory 😦

  14. Pseu says:

    Hmm and I saw three reddened cherry tree leaves as the first sign of Autumn (already?)

    1. theonlycin says:

      Seems the world’s climate is all awry?

  15. Sparky says:

    I am wearing a light jersey and pull over zip up thingies, lovely weather it is today. Normally you will find me with poloneck and winter jacket.
    Congratz about the good news, you will become a much awaited Gauteng’s Only Cin like CT with Giggling Gourmet.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m also usually wrapped up in layers, Sparky, but not today, I have a light knit poloneck and a jacket only.

  16. Congratulations – Resident Food Writer sounds so cool! Sounds like you had a fabulous evening out and Sandton doesn’t look like it has one tree left – sad.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      I find it sad too 😦

  17. SuziCate says:

    Indeed a blessed day!

    1. theonlycin says:

      My heart pumped happiness today 🙂

  18. slpmartin says:

    The Sandton looks like a form seen through one of those old circus mirrors.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Brilliant analogy, Charlie 🙂

  19. SidevieW says:

    I rather like sandtonn. Buildings that have moved past the standard highrise block. Joburg gices wonderful contrasts of the areas of trees as well as high-city.

    1. theonlycin says:

      But Sandton has complete disregard for the planet?

  20. MaanKind says:

    A good thing I read your blog on a full stomach…

    1. theonlycin says:

      LOL Maankind, ons gaan een dag saam kuier, ek weet dit net!

  21. nrhatch says:

    I just love how your life is unfolding, Cin ~ writing, food, wine . . . all your passions being put to use. 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Nancy, the universe is smiling at me 🙂

  22. LOVE that skyline.
    And very glad that Winter is at its tail end.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s been a very harsh winter, Kate, I didn’t cope well at all.

  23. bluebee says:

    Does the new gig mean more trips to the Cape? 🙂 Congrats, Cin

    1. theonlycin says:

      More time in the Cape would be dreamy 🙂

  24. You guys must have an awfully short winter as it seems to me it just started not too long ago. I think the Sandton is an unusual building. Maybe someone had just a little too much wine when they designed it. Probably does have great views.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Perhaps you’re right and there was quaffing involved in the creative process 😉

  25. Are those buildings for real? I am awed by them. I am not sure I’d like to step into one of them. They remind me of a fun house. Very interesting. Blessings to you, Cindy…

    1. theonlycin says:

      A fun house! You’re spot on, Carol 🙂

  26. Oh Cindy, how altogether awesome! CONGRATS on being selected by First Sighting! I remember that bottle only too well from your lovely lunch 😀 Bet it won’t be long before you’re on the other side of the fence at the wine-tastings 😉 As for Sandton, I must confess to mixed feelings, finding those last buildings pictured quite hideous – although your pic makes them look rather sensational. Just goes to show what great photography can do!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you, Naomi, what a compliment, coming from you!

  27. libraryscene says:

    Congrats on the writing gig!

    Quite envious on how short your winter is…. amazing (mine starts in Oct or Nov and last until at least April)

    As for the structures… hmmm, they almost seem out of a Batmanish movie… most unusual, thou I cannot say I dislike it…kinda like a vertical Guggenheim ~

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, I think God made our winter short to compensate for the harshness of it 😉

  28. such a fun connection for u and for us vicariously. i’m not above vicarious pride. keep taking us to the top. your boat is big enough. hugs

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes Doc, my boat is very big 🙂

  29. Krokodil says:

    Congratulations on the new gig, Cin. I like the Jhb skyline. And the fact that stuff doesn’t rust so much there. In my business that would be a big advantage. I guess I’m just somewhat over the glorious Cape.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m longing for the Cape, Krok 🙂

  30. Tokeloshe says:


    N-o-o-o! We only getting into summer ;-(
    Wow! Sandton sure has changed since I saw it last.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Tok, Sandton continues to change 😦

  31. Let us know when the magazine is out; I’d love to see it! Sandton? I love it! When I’m there I feel like a rich chick; like I can do ANYthing! It inspires me.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I will let you know, Lee.

  32. Jamie Dedes says:

    Cindy, so much good news in one post! Congratulations. Please as punch for you. Hard work paying off. Always heartening to see that. Bravo!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Jamie 🙂

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