I love to bring home original and authentic souvenirs from my travels. It is important for them to be practical where possible and high-quality too.
Here is a list of original gift ideas from Saint-Petersburg for you. I tried to step away from traditional Matreshkas but still left some favorite tacky items on the list. And yes, I like Lenin marble bust sculpture as a paper press.
Faberge replica Eggs
The original masterpieces of Carl Faberge. Photo: fabergemuseum.ru.
This is an excellent gift, especially for Easter.
The Faberge eggs look sophisticated and classy. They will complement most interiors.
Nice replicas cost anywhere from 2,000 roubles while the originals cost millions of dollars.
If you would like to see the collection of real Carl Fabergé masterpieces and get some inspiration, visit the Faberge museum in the Shuvalov Palace. In 2004, Russian businessman Victor Vekselberg acquired a collection of more than 200 items including the famous Easter eggs, which are now on display at the museum.
I love practical gifts and podstakannik is an excellent idea.
Podstakannik is a metal holder for a glass of tea which would otherwise be too hot to hold. The original cup holders were invented to be used on trains in the late 19th century. They were very popular during the Soviet times.
The Podstakanniks are made from metal and usually have interesting decorations either in the Soviet style or Russian classic style. You may want to pick up a glass or two (stakan) as well so you can use the podstakannik at home for your hot drinks.
You can buy ushanka hat in a military style or just a nice elegant one in a variety of colors. Ushanka will be great on a cold and windy day back home.
The classical ushanka is made of rabbit fur, but these days there are plenty faux fur ones.
Pavlovo Posad Shawl
Another practical gift. Ladies wear them over winter coats. They look bright and original and they are very warm too. The good quality shawls are made of 100% wool.
The best place to buy a real Pavlovo Posad Shawl in Saint-Petersburg is a specialized shop called Pavlovoposadskiye
You can get the original watches at the antique stalls or get modern replicas at souvenir shops.
You may be interested in modern day Russian watches Raketa and Pobeda. Check them out at raketa.com. “Made in Russia” by the Raketa Watch Factory. Prices start from around 7,000 rubles.
There are womens and mens styles, classic, military, and modern. What a great gift idea!
With many years of tradition, Russian Vodka is of high quality and it is very cheap.
I recommend to take a medium range one not presented abroad.
The St. Petersburg Vodka brand from a local distillery may be your choice if you want a local souvenir. Otherwise, Beluga is premium brand. Mamont, Russian Standard, Moskovskaya, Stolichnaya, Drova…. you name it.
Vodka is available from any grocery store or a supermarket.
Russian wine is rising. I am a sommelier and I have recently been tasting some very interesting wines from the South of Russia and the Crimea.
Pavel Shvets of Uppa Winery is one of the most regarded winemakers producing biodynamic wines in the Crimea.
Other wines to taste are coming from the Vedernikov Winery near Rostov-on-Don made of autochthonous grape varieties.
I am not engaged by these wineries, just want to share an exotic and high-quality wine experience with wine lovers from abroad. Wine is always a great gift!
To taste and buy some great Russian wines drop by the wine bar Na Vina! at Kazanskaya Street 3A, near the Kazansky Cathedral. I have also posted about 9 Wine Bars to Visit in St Petersburg.
You can find a myriad of these at souvenir shops or order online.
Original tshirts from konasov.com
If there is any Russian souvenir I would like to buy for myself (other than the wine above) I would go for a tea or coffee cup from the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory (fka Leningrad Porcelain Factory).
Check out at IPM.com or perhaps look for the store at the Gostiny Dvor shopping center. Not cheap, but a great gift and very practical.
Russia has been famous for its sweets, konfety.
Those are individually wrapped chocolate-coated sweets or candies, a real treat.
Russian konfety are a good gift to bring home, however, be aware that they can melt during the hot summer weather.
It is best to buy them at the local NK Krupskaya Confectionary Factory (Фабрика имени КРУПСКОЙ) stores named after Lenin’s wife. One is located on Nevsky prospect near the Kazansky Cathedral.
You can buy chocolates by weight, in fancy tins, or in festive gift boxes. I don’t recommend the chocolate bars – I think they are just ok, but konfety are very authentic. They would make an original gift.
Russians eat konfety with hot black tea. Mishka na Severe (Polar Bear in the North) wrapped in a bright blue paper is my personal all-time favorite.