Essential Russian and British souvenirs and presents
So you are off to Russia… Excited? No matter whether you are staying with a host family or in rented apartment/hostel/hotel, you might want to bring some presents to your host, friends, teachers etc. And the opposite is true – your family back home would be thrilled to get a couple of traditional Russian souvenirs!
UK to Russia
Tea. Good quality English tea is a great choice. English tea is world-famous, and your Russian friends will definitely appreciate the gesture.
Worcestershire sauce. Yes, you heard it right – Worcestershire sauce! It is still quite a rare find in Russia, yet it is great for a salad dressing and certain cocktails.
Shortbread biscuits. Even those who doesn’t have a sweet tooth will love the shortbread cookies! Good quality British shortbread biscuits just melt in your mouth. They are also ideal for a tea-party (чаепитие) – something that every Russian adores!
Marmite. You either love it or hate it. There is no other way! Not many Russian know about it, let alone tasted it.
Fudge. Simply yum.
Harry Potter jellies. Or anything Harry Potter-related really.
Pimm’s (18+ only). There are not many things so quintessentially British as Pimm’s!
Cath Kidston’s British-themed homeware (and not only). The British brand Cath Kidston is difficult to confuse with any other. Beautiful floral prints are its business card.
Paddington bear. Paddington bear is a character from Michael Bond’s book that later became a classic of English literature. It is a very sweet present.
P.S. Should you have not packed any of the above, do not worry – a pretty magnet will also do!
Russia to UK
Matryoshka (Матрешка). Classic. Undeniably the most popular souvenir from Russia. There are so many beautiful dolls to choose from – any size, colour and pattern!
Pryaniki (пряники) and sushki (сушки). Russian say to biscuits and British oat cakes. Pryaniki resemble the taste of a gingerbread whilst sushki taste like dry sweet bread.
Russian chocolate and sweets. Soviet sweets are great! Sweets from Red October factory (Красный Октябрь) in Moscow and Krupskaya factory (Крупская) in St Petersburg are still very popular and are must-buys for foreign visitors. The most famous is Alyonka (Аленка) chocolate.
Ushanka (Ушанка; winter hat). Another souvenir widely recognised around the world. It is also very warm and practical.
Valenki (валенки). Valenki are traditional Russian winter boots, essentially felt boots. Perhaps, they’re not so widespread today in big cities but are still common in the countryside. They are super warm.
Pavlovo Posad shawls (Павлопосадская шаль/платки). Pavlovo Posad is a small town near Moscow known all over Russia for its shawls and scarves factory. The shawls usually feature bright floral pattern. They are still extremely popular and trendy.
Gzhel (Гжель). Gzhel is Russian ceramics which originates from the village of Gzhel not far from Moscow. The pottery has distinctive blue designs on white background.
Khokhloma (Хохлома). Khokhloma is traditional Russian painting on wood. It has distinctive floral patterns of gold, black and red and green colours. Usually it is the tableware that gets decorated in Khokhloma design and it is simply gorgeous.
P.S. If you are in Russia this June/July – you are spoilt for choice with World Cup 2018-related souvenirs!