German souvenirs that won’t break your budget

Marzipan with almonds
Marzipan with almonds

German souvenirs that won’t break your budget

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

A trip back stateside to reconnect with family and friends while living in Germany is certainly a cause for celebration. But once you stop to think about all those birthdays and anniversaries you’ve missed, it’s all too easy to get caught up in a shopping frenzy. Your brother would love a stein, mom’s got the perfect wall space for a cuckoo clock and your favorite aunt has been collecting teacups for as long as you can remember. Before you know it, you’re laying out tons of money and stressing out about slighting a family member by failing to find that perfect gift.

Why not take a deep breath and a step back and put all thoughts of extravagant gift-giving aside? Your best friends from your school days and your family are longing for your presence, not your presents. Instead of costly souvenirs, pick up useful and unique everyday items from your local drug store or supermarket that say “I’ve been thinking of you” without the hefty price tag. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

For gourmets: Pumpernickel bread in a can; Knorr Jaeger, lemon butter, pfifferling mushroom or other sauce packets; Spaetzle noodles; Dallmayr coffee; Teekanne teas, particularly Ostfriesen, the strong tea drunk on the Frisian islands; curry-flavored ketchup; asparagus, pumpkin or other soups in powder form; sweet and spicy mustard, remoulade sauce or mayonnaise in a tube; vacuum-packed hams and sausages. 

For bakers: Packets of vanilla sugar; loaves of marzipan; Christmas cookie spices such as anise or cardamom; poppy seeds; candied fruit peels; dinkel (spelt) or other specialty types of flour for bread baking; cake mixes for German classics such as Black Forest; Donauwelle or Bienenstich.

For sweet-tooths: Niederegger marzipan; Ritter Sports bars; Milka candy bars; Dickman’s marshmallow treats; Asbach brandy-filled pralines; Leibniz or Lambertz biscuits; Lotus Biscoff crunchy cookie spread (similar to the Belgian speculaas).

For healthy eaters: herbal teas; grains such as amaranth, spelt or millet; herb or vegetable bread spreads; sunflower and honey cookies; linseed or sunflower oils; sauerkraut juice; herbal cough drops and hard candies.

For the kids: unusual candies such as Saure Drachenzunge (sour dragon tongues); cola or apple schnüre (whips); brausepulver (fizzy powder); sour peach or apple rings; Kinder chocolates; Duplo cookies; “Russian bread” alphabet cookies.   

Cosmetics and beauty: Weleda or Dr. Hauschka skin care products; Dresdener Essenz or Kneipp bath salts; Speick brand soaps; ARTDECO lipsticks and fingernail polish, 4711 Eau de Cologne fragrances; Plantur 39 shampoos; Swiss O Par hair mask pillows. 

For the party people: Rauchbier (smoke beer) from Bamberg; Bärenjäger honey-flavored liqueur, Riesling wine; Sekt sparkling wine; Asbach Uralt brandy (for making Rüdesheim’s signature coffee drink); party klopfer, mini-bottles of alcohol.

For new parents: Penaten baby skincare products; Zwieback teething biscuits; brei (porridge mixes); organic sugar-free teas in fruit or herbal flavors; teething gel.

For those with a sense of the unusual: Trolli hamburger shaped gummy candies; Katje’s salty herring licorice; peanut butter puffs; Haribo A…mit Ohren candy; canned herring; herbal and licorice-flavored toothpaste; mock turtle canned soup (no turtles; but red wine, mushrooms and pork hearts). 

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