The Hilltop Curry House is an example of something that the Peak District does very well – unexpected artisan business run by people with a passion for their products.
Sarah, the creator of and chef at The Hilltop Curry House has a passion derived from her family’s heritage in southern India. Using locally produced ingredients and combining them with the freshest of spices, freshly ground and roasted she crafts a small range of dishes for us all to enjoy.
Along with an Indian heritage Sarah spent 15 years travelling around 30 countries guiding small trekking groups and introducing them to the local culture. Sarah explained “[when guiding] it’s great, you get to work with local people rather than just pass through.” She went on, “I would sit in the cook tent, because that’s where all your team building happens between you and the locals.” In doing so Sarah experienced the local cuisines and all their subtle variations across Asia. Between work as a trekking guide she would often visit her aunts in south India and cook with them. All this experience of practical, authentic Asian cooking combined with her experience growing up at home. “When I cook I aim to recreate the smell of my nan’s kitchen, then I know- that’s it!”
Images courtesy of the Hilltop Curry House.
Sarah speaks several languages, leading to her acting as a guide in places as diverse as Russia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Morocco. Staying in small hotels, often eating in the homes of local people and therefore accumulating a huge experience of world cuisine.
I asked Sarah about what characterises south Indian cuisine, “In the south you get more Thai cookery with a lot of coconut milk with almost no dairy. Curry leaves, mustard seeds, red chilli, asafoetida. When I smell those cooking I know someone’s cooking south Indian.”
The Hilltop Curry House caters for events as well as putting their dishes on the shelves of local stores. Drop her a line if you want to have your party catered by Sarah to see what special touches she can add to your event.
So, how does the food taste? Well, we were given the opportunity to sample a little of it. The Vietnamese Chicken Curry we tried was aromatic, subtle and nicely balanced the carrot and sweet potato in it working rather nicely, even for Carol who’s not a fan of sweet potato. We also sampled a few chutneys. A Sweet and flavoursome date chutney as well as a coconut and coriander chutney that was fresh with a lovely texture. Then there was my personal favourite, Sweet and Spicy Tomato.
If you’re vegan you’ll find many of the dishes are suitable for you, some are gluten free. But of course check with The Hilltop Curry House before you buy.
The Hilltop Curry House A Passion For Flavour
As I said at the beginning of this article the word that sums up Sarah is passion. Passion for her heritage, passion for the food she produces and an overwhelming passion for fresh produce prepared by hand to bring authentic and exciting food to her customers. You can buy her food and try it for yourself from Whites of Calver, Zed Wholefoods, Beeches of Walkley, Whites of Calver, SickleHolme Service Station and Grindleford Community Shop.
And you can find more information here about the company, their products and their background.