Everyone of us wishes to bring home some souvenirs and gifts that will remind us of the trip. Souvenir shops in Russia offer a very large selection of things to take with you: starting from small wooden magnets and printed products (postcards, illustrated books) to crafts, lacquer miniatures, dolls, Faberge-style eggs - the pride of St. Petersburg. We offer you a list of the most popular Russian souvenirs.
Treats - the most appropriate and simple gift. First, the food tells a lot about the country. Secondly, you do not have to worry about the cost - those gifts can be bought at an absolutely reasonable price.
Pastila is an old Russian delicacy made from mashed apples or pulp of berries and honey, known from the 16th century. Pastila was a kind of medieval preserve, a way to keep the harvest till next season. Apples are tamed in the oven, spread on the boards, dried in the sun. Thin strips of brown color were rolled up into scrolls and used as a treat.
Since the XIX century, honey was replaced by sugar. In order to give the delicacy white color and increase its elasticity, a third ingredient was introduced into the classic recipe - egg white.
Sweets and Chocolate (Babaevsky, Alyonka, Korkunov, Red October)
Babaevsky is one of the oldest and largest enterprises in Moscow and Russia. Currently, the company produces more than 129 kinds of original and popular confectionery: сhocolate, candies, caramel, gift sets.
Over the long years of its existence, many of “Red October” products have become almost legendary, and their popularity today just continues to grow. One of them is "Alyonka", which was one of the most famous Soviet brands. The chocolate was named after the daughter of the first Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, but another Soviet girl became the face of this chocolate.
The brand "Korkunov" is widely known today, though it is only 10 years old. Its history began in 1999, when the Odintsovo Chocolate Factory, built by Andrey Nikolayevich Korkunov, produced the first chocolate.
Сandied roasted nuts
Initially, roasting is a French dessert made from roasted nuts with sugar. However, nut candies were particularly popular in the USSR and are still popular nowdays.
There are two types of such sweets: soft - includes boiled fruit and crushed nuts; hard which is crushed nuts with melted sugar.
Tula gingerbread (named after Tula, a town in Moscow region) is the most famous type of Russian gingerbread. As a rule, Tula gingerbread has the form of a rectangular tile or a flat figure glazed on top. Now most often has a filling made of jam or condensed milk.
Tula gingerbread is called printed, because it gets its form due to the use of special gingerbread boards. These are wooden forms with a relief pattern which are put onto the dough, and an image gets imprinted on it.
Honey is one of the most important components of Russian cuisine. It is the ingredient in a large number of sweet and savory dishes. Since ancient times, a great variety of drinks was made using natural honey. Old Russian forests untouched by civilization were a favorable enviroment for bees. Honey was eaten just as it is, for example, with pancakes, tea, or porridge. It was also an ingredient in pies and gingerbread. Thanks to honey gingerbread is fresh for a long time.
In Russia there are unique varieties of honey. For example, the one made in Bashkiria.
In Russia, it is considered, that condensed milk is a national product in Russia. The image of the white-and-blue can, in which it was produced in the Soviet Union, passed from decade to decade, and turned into a kind of national brand.
Initially, condensed milk was produced in limited quantities mainly for the army, as well as for polar explorers and Central Asian expeditions. Milk was given out in small doses to the wounded as well as to the people in besieged Leningrad. At those hard times, condensed milk was a symbol of happiness and luxury.
For many years, red caviar is a symbol of Russia in the world. This is not surprising, because our country is the largest global exporter of this delicacy.
Public interest in red caviar appeared only at the beginning of the 20th century. For this reason, in the 1910s, the industrial production of caviar began to establish. At first, Moscow and St. Petersburg were the main customers, but over time, the rest of Russia fell in love for the new delicacy.
From a botanical point of view, it is not “cedar nuts”, but “pine seeds”. Real cedars grow in Asia, Lebanon. But Siberian pine with long needles reminds those trees so much that the discoverers of Siberia took it for cedars.
Siberian pine is known all over the world. Apart from the fact that pine nuts are very tasty, pine smell has a very good anti-stress affect, so it is also used for making extracts and oil for aroma lamps.
Pickled cucumbers and sauerkraut
Modern recipes for pickles have existed for several centuries. If you follow the recipes and add various spices, the taste of pickled cucumber may differ: sour, sweetish, salty, lightly salted - cucumbers can be cooked to suit every taste. Cucumbers can be served with freshly cooked potatoes, salted fish or even vodka. Without pickled cucumbers, it is impossible to make such traditional dishes as vinaigrette or Russian salad.
Sauerkraut - no less popular dish of Russian cuisine.
Kvass is a traditional Slavic sour drink, which is prepared on the basis of fermentation from flour and malt (rye, barley) or from dry rye bread, sometimes with the addition of herbs, honey. The main advantage of this drink is to quench thirst on a hot summer day.
Such a souvenir will stay with you much longer, will warm and remind you of the trip.
Knited from lace textile, Orenburg downy shawl is one of the symbols of Russia. As its name suggests, the shawl originated in the Orenburg area (the Urals region), around 250 years ago, and initially was used to help the locals survive their severe winters.
While, in their original version, the shawl was intended solely for practical purposes, later on, rural needlewomen introduced intricate patterns and turned the craft into real art.
Another name for Orenburg downy shawl is the “Wedding Ring Shawl”. Can you guess why? Because, even though the shawl is very warm, its fabric is so thin, it can go through a wedding ring.
The famous Pavloposad headscarf is a popular accessory worn by women all over the world for more than 200 years. This is a great traditional Russian addition to any outfits - both in folk style and modern. Wool and woolen shawls will warm in the cool winter evenings. Silk scarves create a cooling effect and perfectly save from the summer heat. Motifs or elements of Pavlovo posad shawls are used on fashion shows by both Russian and European designers
Headscarves appeared in the wardrobe of women of fashion in the 17th century and became the favorite decoration of the clothes of wealthy merchants. They were usually presented as gifts to brides. Famous ornaments came from everyday peasant life: here there are flowers, carved patterns of platbands and spinning wheels, homespun embroidery, and elements of icon painting.
At the end of the 18th century, valenki, traditional Russian footwear, were born in the Yaroslavl province in the town of Myshkin. At that time, valenki were very expensive. But at the end of the 19th century they became widespread.
These unique shoes are known for its ability of keeping a certain and constant temperature inside. In Russia, it is believed, that they can cure rheumatism, cold, radiculitis and many other diseases. An advantage is that they are environmentally friendly, as they are still produced only from natural wool.
Our country has always been famous for the most interesting examples of folk crafts. Each region has its own distinctive character, which is reflected in the unique works of local masters.
Matryoshka - the most famous and most popular of all Russian souvenirs. The traditional design of those dolls today is the image of a young Russian woman, dressed in a national costume and a head scarf. In a classic matryoshka, all the dolls of the set look almost identical, the number of dolls varies from 5 to 30.
There are some secrets the process of creating the famous dolls. The tree must lie in the open air for two years. All the way from the bar to the finished figure takes 15 stages. The smallest figure is the first one to be made.
Khokhloma pattern is one of the oldest in Russia. Nizhny Novgorod forests in the seventeenth century was a place where Old Believers lived. Among them were the master-icon painters. According to the legends, it was they who suggested to the peasants the painting technique that later became Khokhloma.
Khokhloma gold is only an appearance. In fact the wood is covered with silver tin. But under a high temperature Khokhloma takes its precious look.
The most traditional souvenir is a Khokhloma-painted spoon. But nowdays, this pattern can be found on any kind of houseware.
Gzhel is a traditional painting on ceramics, which became popular due to saturated cobalt shades, bright majolica and amazing harmony of drawings and ornaments.
It was named after the picturesque Moscow region, also known as "Gzhel bush". For more than 700 years, the masters of Gzhel have created real works of art - dishes, statues, interior items, painted with bright ornaments depicting flowers, animals or landscapes. All works are hand-made. Machine Gzhel painting does not exist, each product is original.
Interestingly, that in the process of creation, the paining is black and white. Blue and cobalt shades appear only when the finished product is put under high temperature.
Palekh - a small village in the Ivanovo region is included, which gave its name to the world-famous folk craft. Palekh brand - boxes, brooches, panels and other lacquer miniatures, painted with gold and bright colors on a black background.
A long time ago, icon painters and restorers lived in the village. After the October Revolution, artists stop working with biblical images in search of other ideas. That is how a modern Palekh style and jewelry boxes appeared. The boxes were painted by former icon painters with plots from fairy-tales, genre scenes, pictures of village life and landscapes.
Zhostovo Painting is Russian folk art craft on metal trays, existing since 1825 in the village of Zhostovo. The main style of the Zhostovo painting is a flower bouquet, which consists of large garden and small wild flowers. The background is usually black (sometimes it is red, blue, green or silver). The master works on several trays at once.