I meant to write this a year ago, then it felt a bit inappropriate because of the political and economic situation. I just felt bad writing about souvenirs and pretty things to buy in Kiev while the country is in war. But now I look at it differently: yes, the economy is sh*t, but there are great people making great products, so if you are reading this and would like a suggestion for a meaningful hand-made Ukrainian product, here you go. At least you’ll support local talent and not the Chinese mass market.
As you’ve probably figured, I’m not a big fan of souvenirs, but I do like to bring locally made gifts to friends and family when I visit. So here you go:
What souvenirs to buy in Ukraine
1 week trip to Kiev. Visiting family, hugging friends, catching up and doing some chores – all in all it was a great trip! With a rotten apple spoiling a bunch (read the story here), but all in all, a very good trip.
Just after my mind recovered from the riddle of what souvenirs to bring from KL another challenge appeared – what souvenirs to bring from Kiev?
Here’s some ideas (all covered by one trip to the grocery store):
- Dark rye bread
- Dark chocolate
- Caviar (#yolo)
Ok, ok, just because KL doesn’t have all that in abundance and affordable prices, I’m bringing all sorts of food from home.
Supporting the local talent
On a more serious note, this is what I thought of, if you need proper souvenirs from Kiev. These are all projects very dear to me, created by friends or not yet friends but generally very pleasant folks.
Handmade bags and purses, made with love and meticulous attention to details from repurposed leather. A brand founded by a dear friend Anna, I now have two of their bags: “banana bag” like this one and a cross-shoulder clutch which went out to the theatre with me – we both looked very appropriately theatre-like.
The guys are soon opening a new show room and I do suggest you check them out: follow REmade on Facebook.
A new and very promising project – Sandra Prachuk Ceramics. Homeware, decorative trinkets and definitely heartwarming pieces. Check ’em out on Instagram and Facebook. Sandra is also REmade’s founder’s cousin – these women have talent in their blood!
These are the maps with a scratch layer that you can hang on the wall and scratch-off the countries you’ve visited to brag in front of your friends that come over. A girl I went to school with founded this project with her now husband and I couldn’t be more proud of them! They have a few really exciting projects coming up too, so do like their Facebook page to keep updated.
If you are (like me) a believer that books make the best gifts, check out Lviv’s Vydavnytstvo Starogo Leva (Old Lion Publishing – no English on their site, please use Google translate) – they have some very impressive books, I got about 10 Ukrainian books of theirs and two of the (very trendy now) colouring books for adults.
So if you happen to be in Ukraine and want to leave a few of your heard-earned dollars on our fruitful soil, I do suggest you check out these projects. Also please don’t disregard that food list at the beginning of the post. There’s a lot of interesting local food you can shop for in supermarkets, do make sure it’s made in Ukraine and not imported, mmkay?
Peace, love and support #MadeInUkraine!