What to bring for family or friends from your trip in Slovakia.
The usual souvenirs, such as refrigerator magnets, bookmarks, postcards and calendars with images of Slovakia’s beautiful sights, can be found in many souvenir shops and tourist information offices across the country.
But if you are looking for something out of the ordinary, a less common souvenir to provide a lasting memory of your trip to central Europe, several possibilities are at hand.
Dolls wearing traditional folk costumes are among many tourists’ favourites. Also various carved-wood objects such as musical instruments (perhaps a small shepherds’ pipe or a rattle), decorative objects to hang on the wall or several kinds of household tools for daily use (a honey container, decorated wooden spoons, wooden egg-holders or milk glasses) are available.
Embroidered or crocheted table cloths and similar products are traditional for Slovakia as well. Dolls made of corn leaves, usually depicting traditional Slovak crafts related to village life and work in the fields, such as a woman brace-wheeling, people raking straw or a woman singing a lullaby to a baby in a cradle, can be found.
Traditional Slovak pottery, majolika or keramika in Slovak, can be interesting for tourists as well. Several different kinds of traditional pottery are still hand-made in Slovakia: Modra majolica has various traditional patterns hand-painted onto a white coating, traditionally in greens, blues and yellows (www.majolika.sk) while Trstená keramika brings a combination of a brown glaze with white designs (www.trstenskakeramika.sk).
Decorated Easter eggs, called kraslice in Slovak, make a rather fragile but lovely souvenir from Slovakia too. There is no need to worry about the longevity of this gift as the eggs are just shells with their contents blown out through small holes on either side of the egg. A wide variety of techniques are used to decorate the eggs, among them hot-wax painting, straw ornaments glued to the eggshells, embroidered eggs, or so-called scratched eggs.
Many kinds of traditional souvenirs can be purchased in shops branded as ÚĽUV – The Centre for Folk Art Production (www.uluv.sk).
If you prefer bringing back some of the tastes of the country rather than its decorative objects, here’s a list of Slovak-made products that could be slipped into your luggage before your return trip:
The favourite soft drinks available in Slovakia are Vinea (a wine-flavoured, carbonated drink) and Kofola (a caffeinated cola-like drink with its own characteristic taste). You can purchase both soft drinks in plastic bottles or in cans. Slovak-made spirits that will be a hit in your home country could be Demänovka, a herbal liqueur in two flavours – bitter (red label) and sweet (green label) – as well as slivovica (plum brandy) and Spiš hruškovica (pear brandy). If beer is your preferred option, traditionally excellent Slovak beers are Zlatý Bažant, Šariš, or local brands from small breweries. For wine lovers, the following wineries offer choice of regional wines: J&J Ostrožovič, Tokaj&Co, Elesko, Chateau Belá, Víno Matyšák, Vinárstvo Pavelka & Syn, Vinohradníctvo Pavelka, Chateau Viničky, Víno Vdovjak, Tibava, Tokaj Macik Winery, Tokaj Zlatý Strapec.
CHOCOLATES AND SWEETS
If you are searching for Slovak-made chocolates and sweets in a supermarket, look for the Figaro brand for various chocolate bars and boxed chocolates, the Deva brand for chocolate bars, boxed chocolates and jelly boxes and the Sedita brand for various biscuits and wafers, including the very popular peanut-cream filled wafers called Horalky or Mila and Kakaové rezy or Kávenky.