What to bring as a gift from Slovakia

What to bring as a gift? This perennial problem is usually bothering tourists from the first days of travel. We want to give something unusual, but special for the country and not very expensive - because every one has a lot of friends.

On this page we will publish not standard traveler's ideas what to bring as a gift.

If you can replenish our ideas - indtravel.admatgmail.com (write us) 

The main thing that needs to be brought from Slovakia - mass of impressions of the surprising nature. Only it is required to know where to travel, taking into account tastes of a traveller. Here are very affable, cordial and friendly people easy and pleasant in speech and communication. You will be met here with openhearted hospitality. It is a lot of tourist routes here both in High and Low Tatra Mountains and in other mountain regions. 
In respect of a casino and suchlike - it is rather a weak point here. It will be difficult to very rich ladies to show off here in their dresses. But people loving adventures, fresh, crisp air and nature - its primordial beauties and flora and fauna, got used to running shoes, shorts and flannel shirts will find for themselves in Slovakia a lot of interesting and unexpected. Welcome to have a rest from fuss!

Souvenirs

 Dolls dressed in national folk clothes of different regions of Slovakia are lovely gifts. There are different dolls in national suits, they are very various as every regions and even sometimes villages had own traditional national folk costumes - " kroje ". 
 
The visiting card of Slovakia is Bratislavsky hrad. It is the famous castle in the capital Bratislava. Therefore can be brought souvenir products with its symbolic - trinkets, magnets et cetera.
 
Hat, as had been wearing Janoshik - national hero, can be presented too!!!

The Mole – is the same one from the animated cartoon. But the mole of animated cartoon is a Czech souvenir, that is the Czech fairy tale. And about a Slovak fairy tale here in Russia almost nobody knows, it is named " Pasli ovce Valasi" – “Shepherds grazed sheep”, as the main characters act two fellows Kubko (fatty) and Matko (slim) in national clothes. “Pasli ovce Valasi” is an original set of Slovak folklore stories about two young shepherds. Very nice animation suited for children from 2-8 with excellent voice by Jozef Kroner showing almost forgotten restoration of a regional mountain dialect. The series has also been published in a book later. The book “Matko a Kubko” (Mathew and Jacob) written by Marianna Grznarova consists of several tales about amusing happenings of Matko and Kubko - shepherds living in a shepherd’s cottage. The charm of the story lies in humorous parody of the topic and of the language of folk fairy tales. Amusing reading is supplemented by equally humorous illustrations by Ladislav Capek, that children love so much. It is that symbol of Slovakia; there are dolls and T-shirt with them. 
 
Pebbles can be brought from the top of High Tatra Mountains as well.
 
There are big clay and wooden beer mugs also.

Goods on Christmas markets

If a trip falls at December, then Christmas markets, which are located on central squares of cities, can be visited. There is always great number of various beautiful and interesting things and commodities. In Bratislava – it is in the Old Town (Slovak: Stare Mesto). So, it is needed to roam around and look on sides gazing about.   

Wooden, glass or straw decorations for a New Year tree is better to buy on Christmas markets, which are well organised in different cities in December or in special shops.
There are can be purchased Easter eggs, woodworks (salt-cellars, bowls, nutcrackers), metallic or ceramic hand bells and so on.
 
There are lovely figurines made of corncobs also. In Slovakia there is a tradition to make so-called "Corn Husk Dolls". Sold as souvenirs, these dolls, as the name implies, are made out of dried cornhusks. They are also use in homes as decorations for different holidays, among those Easter. The handmade dolls are very delicate and often include significant details; some of them even carry small objects, such as baked bread (made out of real dough). In regard to dollies made of corn can be mentioned that among them the most appreciated is Betleem and it traditionally put under a New Year tree.

Textiles and concomitant accessories

Cotton home-weaved rugs, decorations, curtains, table-cloths or serviettes of bobbin laces, or modrotlac – a cotton material of dark blue colour with white printed patterns for a dress, napkins, table-cloths, aprons or readymade products made of this fabric can be bought in specialised shops ULUV and Slovenska izba or on markets. 
 
Embroidered products as well as serviettes, tablecloths and so on knitted by crochet hook can be found in abundance.

Folk trade and handicraft wares

 In summer and autumn fairs of handicrafts pass on all territory of Slovakia, there can be purchased forged wares, woodwork and other things made of wood such as figurines – articles of the folk trade, very delicious and useful honey and medovina (famous liquor made of honey and herbs), products of beekeeping, leather products - bags, hats, belts with filled iron rivets - belts of shepherds.
 
There are also sheep hides and things made of the sheep wool. 

Articles of art and painting

Here a lot of people are dedicated to Fine arts and especially painting. Therefore in specialised shops it is possible to purchase canvases of artists - amateurs.

Porcelain, ceramic and clay wares

There is traditional onion-pattern porcelain.
 
Potteries of the hand painting are remarkable gift for relatives and friends.
Also note should be taken on ceramic plates with various images and photos and ceramic hand bells.
 
There is well-known Slovak blue ceramics. Potteries with traditional painting – Modra ceramics are products from settlement Modra (literal translation - Dark blue). Modra is a city and municipality in the Bratislava Region and famous for its pottery industry. Its blue-and-white porcelain is famous throughout Slovakia. 
 
The wide choice of clay figurines and clay beer mugs is presented as well.

Crystal and wineglasses

There is Crystal Glassware available as well (if someone still have an interest towards it).
 
Amusing wineglasses for hard liquors in form of small vials, which are differently named in different areas of Slovakia, are for sale in most souvenir booths, often decorated by the Slovak coat of arms.

Woodworks

Wooden figurines – products of the national craft are offered too.
 
There are woodworks such as saltcellars, bowls and nutcrackers as well.
 
Shepherds in mountains used so-called, "valaska" (valashka) - are shepherd's painted staffs made of wood with a metallic tip, in the form of an axe with long handle and carved ornaments. The valaska (Polish: ciupaga, Hungarian: fokos) is a long thin light axe used in the past centuries by shepherds and other Gorals in the Carpathian Mountains, especially in Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and Hungary. Main feature of valaska is a combination of a tool with a walking stick, which could also be used as a light weapon. In regard to Janoshik who is national hero of Slovakia, there are many legends about Juro’s life. He was the ideal Slovak man - very handsome, sly and skilful. He was also very strong. He namely got special things from maids. It was the “valaska” (it was a kind of axe, but smaller and lighter, Juro’s valaska was special, because it could cut without any help, it was also very sharp and fast).

Products made of willow branches

In specialised shops ULUV or Slovenska izba as well as on markets can be bought different wattled of willow branches products – baskets for purchases or for dirty clothes to a bathroom, bowls for bread or baking, even furniture – small tables, armchairs, chests et cetera.

Printed matter

Illustrated photo-albums about Slovakia can be offered as a keepsake to friends and relatives.
 
Various calendars with the nature of Slovakia, mountains, castles and cities can become very good gifts too.

Foodstuff

Slovak brynza (cheese) is unique in the world, and there is related nourishment made of it. Among foodstuff it is recommended to provide oneself by Slovak brynza, because dumplings - is a national dish and for its preparation the brynza is required that nowhere can be got from time to time. 
Liptovsky brynza by its flavouring qualities strongly differs from Bulgarian one – it is soft, with a melting taste. There is a recipe of "pomazanka" (a kind of paste or mass of mixed ingredients for a sandwich) - rub on bread brynza plus butter in the proportion 1:1, chopped on very small pieces onion and salt according to liking.
 
Cheese as a plait that matches to beer very well (made of sheep’s milk) - in Orava region there is a variation of steamed cheese called “syrove korbaciky” or simply “korbaciky” (it is actually cheese strings being interwoven into fine braids). Most commonly, however, they were the result of cow milk processing.
 
Smoking – is another typical method of conservation a variety of homemade products. Majority of sheep cheeses is also smoke-preserved to prolong their durability. All kinds of smoked and steamed cheeses prepared from sheep’s milk possess very good quality and it is an excellent snack to beer.
 
There is the well known Slovak smoked cheese "Ostiepok " (every Slovakian, being on foreign land misses this product). "Ostiepky" are the most popular of Slovak smoked cheeses. Secret of their preparation is thoroughly "guarded" in three bastions of Slovak sheep farming: Liptov, Orava, Pohronie. Basic processing method is identical for all of these regions. 
 
Cheese with white mould - Karel IV (Charles IV) can be bought also.
 
Slovakia is famous for homemade sausages, tastiest smoked home sausages, which are for sale in any butcher's shop; and by the very delicious smoked lard. All it is desirable to buy from a home producer.

Sweets and confectionery products in assortment

There are very tasty and useful honey and products of beekeeping.
 
Also it would be desirable to sharpen attention on nuts, dried bananas and Guelder Rose (i.e. Viburnum opulus, Water Elder, European Cranberrybush) in yoghurt. 
 
Condensed milk in tubes - the condensed milk is as usual, but tube! It does not drop on a table and it is not necessary to lick a spoon... And for children there is a delight each time!
 
Chocolate "Student" - most delicious is milk one. 
 
Honey spice-cakes, of course, painted by glaze are lovely dessert to a dining table. 
 
Some types of cookies, for example Brumik and kid’s Piskot (small biscuit cookies) will please children.

Tea and coffee

The best that can be brought from Slovakia is coffee - Poprad's Coffee (Popradska Kava) in packs and different teas of the same brand. 
 
Tatransky tea – are very tasty fruit grades of tea in packs of different flavouring combinations.

Alcoholic beverages

In the southwest of Slovakia there is the so-called Wine road. Here it is always possible to taste and buy dry grape wine. Frankovka is especially popular. But it is of course a matter of a personal preference; therefore it is better to taste a few grades. About quality of Slovak wine says also that at the time of Austro-Hungary the emperor's table had been supplied with these wines particularly. By the way, this wine can be used in the cosmetic purposes as well. 
Frankovka – is one of the most widespread dry red Slovak wines indeed, its complete name is “Frankovka Modra” (in literal translation it means - dark blue, but actually it is the name of a dark sort of grapes in Slovakia).
 
From Slovakia it is needed to bring Tokaji Wine (Tokay Wine). It is not a mistake - area where it has been produced is located on the border with Hungary. The Tokaj vine-making region is located both in Hungary and Slovakia and there is an opinion that Slovak Tokaji is simply tastier! Only it is recommended to buy not any Tokaji wine, but those bottles, which have numbers 3, 4, 5 or even 6 on the label. For example, on the label should be written: "Tokaji wine 3 puttonyos "- it is a kind of key-point. These beverages are for those who fond of sweet, heavy, but very qualitative grades. There are different sorts of Tokaji wine - the more puttonyos (it means how many raisin was added at making) is specified on a bottle, the wine is more expensive and tastier. It is usually a gift for women. The concentration of aszu (the original meaning of the Hungarian word “aszu” was "dried", but the term aszu came to be associated with the type of wine made with grapes - the process of making Aszu wine was traditionally defined by the number of so-called puttony. Nowadays the puttony number is based on the content of sugar and sugar-free extract in the mature wine. Aszu ranges from 3 puttonyos to 6 puttonyos, with a further category called Aszu-Eszencia representing wines above 6 puttonyos. Unlike most other wines, alcohol content of aszu typically runs higher than 14%. Annual production of aszu is less than one percent of the region's total output.
 
Medovina is very tasty alcoholic drink, Slovakia's famous liquor made of honey ("med") and herbs that has been appreciated for many centuries (especially can be mentioned Trnavska medovina). 
 
Liquors Demanovka (bitter and sweet), and Becherovka (Czech liquor) are excellent. 
 
There is light beer Zlaty Bazant (Golden Pheasant), hence the golden bird is on the bottle. It comes in three varieties, 12°, 10° and a dark version.
 
Beer of brand Topvar also would be lovely to share with friends and relatives.
 
Thirty-degree drink Fernet made from mixture of herbs is a kind of aromatic spirit (but it is Czech). The lemon one is tastiest. 
 
Slovenska Borovicka (Slovak Juniper brandy) is a popular drink in Slovakia. 
 
Slivovica (or Slivovitz) – is the highest quality fruit-plums-brandy. Slivovitz (Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian: Sljivovica, Czech: Slivovice, Polish: Sliwowica, Slovak: Slivovica, Slovene: Slivovka) is a distilled beverage made from Damson plums. It is frequently called plum brandy and is part of the category of drinks called “Rakia”.
 
There are very good alcohol made of raspberry (Malinovica - 40 degree unsweetened tincture - distillation of forest raspberry). It is alcoholic drink with a high quality standard based on the original recipes of the old masters.
 
From Slovakia it would be desirable to advise to bring an alcoholic drink of local production - Hruskovica (Pear Brandy). It looks very beautifully when cased into souvenir packing with a wooden framework and sackcloth. It is the tested alcohol.
Vodka Hruskovica (in continuation of the theme about Slivovica and Malinovica) with a piece of pear in the bottle is distilled from variety Williams Pears. Its production number is limited with the guarantee of highest quality level. This distillate is characterized by beautiful smell and sophisticated taste.
 
There are also Jablkovica (Apple Brandy) and Ribezlovica or Cucoriedkovica (Blackcurrant Brandy) - all beverages are unsweetened. Jablkovica is the true fruit distillation from apples grown in the groves of the southern Slovakia. Cucoriedkovica - this is an exceptional spirit produced from blackcurrants which grown at medium altitudes of the deep forests of the Slovak Rudohorie hills and in Central Slovakia. It has a typical, alluring aroma and tastes strongly of blackcurrants. The spirit further matures in earthenware containers, so its harmonic and long-lasting aftertaste will stand out further.
There is an advice not to buy beverages less than 40 degrees, as those are cheap drinks with admixture of syrups. Usually qualitative brandy is of 52 degrees. For Russian population it is uncommon and very pleasant taste without flavour of the spirit. In Duty Free in airport it is offered on good prices.
 
Ceresnovica - cherry spirit and Drienkovica (Cornelian Cherry Brandy) that glorified by former Slovakia president Mr. Rudolf Shuster can be purchased as well. Drienkovica is distilled in the cultivation distillery from Cornelian cherry (Dogwood), which is very valuable in its liquid form after distillation.
 
Alcoholic beverages such as Medovina, Slivovica, Borovicka and others various strong liquors can be presented in vials of 100 grams.
 
There is also Tatransky Caj - a unique, flavourful blend of fruit spirits, tea and herbal extracts with a 52% or 70% alcohol content; a variety Zbojnicky Caj (robber) are available also.

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