Saturday, 9. March 2013
One of the many joys of traveling to another country is browsing numerous gift items (souvenirs) to return home with. Reconsider purchasing trinkets like key chains etc at a tourist “trap.” Frequently you will notice that these souvenirs are produced in a foreign country. Eventually these trinkets end up in a junk drawer. The alternative is to find out what is special about the country you are planning to visit and buy an authentic item.
Remember Your Visit to Croatia
For anyone traveling to Croatia this month for the International Wine Tourism Conference or anytime of the year look for specialty Croatian items. Croatia is known for its handcrafted wooden toys, laces and gingerbread. Before buying souvenirs to return home with, be sure to check the customs regulations for your country.
Beverages of Croatia
Beverages include traditional wines, wines made with Croatian indigenous grapes, and a specialty wine called The Bermet. In addition to the red grapes, this wine also includes wormwood, figs, raisins, spices and carob. The Filipec family keeps the recipe for The Bermet. Of course, Croatia is becoming more involved in the world of wine, so if possible purchase a bottle of wine to take home with you.
Consider returning home with gifts of olive oil. With so many olive groves along the coast of Croatia, Croatian olive oil would be delightful in many kitchens.
In 2009 Croatian lace making was placed on UNESCO’s 2009 Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Pag lace is produced on Croatia’s Pag Island. Pag lace is a painstakingly intricate lace made by hand with fine thread and needle. Croatia is also known for Lepoglav’s lace, a bobbin lace. Other handcrafts include Tkanica weaving and Ivanec embroidery.
Colorful gingerbread would be a delightful gift. According to the UNESCO website, “The recipe is the same for all makers, utilizing flour, sugar, water and baking soda – plus the obligatory spices. The gingerbread is shaped into moulds, baked, dried and painted with edible colours. Each craftsperson decorates gingerbread in a specific way, often with pictures, small mirrors and verses or messages.”
The Origin of the Tie
The modern tie goes back to a time when soldiers in Croatia wore scarves around their necks. Eventually the scarves became a fashion in Europe and ultimately today’s traditional tie. If you know someone who enjoys wearing ties, a Croatian tie might be a wonderful gift.
Handcrafted Wooden Toys
Also, on the UNESCO website are the handcrafted wooden toys produced in Croatia. A special technique has been passed through generations. “The men in a family take soft willow, lime, beech and maple wood from the region and dry, hew, cut and carve it using traditional tools; the women then apply ecologically-friendly paint in improvisational floral or geometric patterns, painting ‘from imagination’. The whistles, horses, cars, tiny furniture, spinning dancers, jumping horses and flapping birds produced today are almost identical to those made more than a century ago – though no two toys are precisely the same, thanks to the handcrafted production process.”
The fountain pen, so popular during the 1900s for so many years, was designed in 1907 by Slavoljub Penkala. The year before in 1906 he patented and produced the mechanical pencil. Although people use computers for much of their writing, a gift of a fountain pen would be a delightful keepsake.
If you plan to buy souvenirs when traveling, consider purchasing authentic products in the countries you are visiting.