Gift that she will love, and therefore love me more.
October 15, 2008 4:07 PM   Subscribe

What should I bring my girlfriend back from Germany?

I'm in Germany right now, Frankfurt mainly, but Berlin for the this weekend, and the hive mind is always so good at this sort of thing, so...

What do you think would be a wunderbar gift for my GF that I could bring back from Germany? 50 euro budget.
posted by miles1972 to Human Relations (35 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Remember some Eisschokolade chocolates. They melt in your mouth and I've only seen them once sold in the US.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:13 PM on October 15, 2008

If they aren't readily available at home, Haribo candies are a classic gift-from-Germany.

You should be able to get her a cute/trendy Ampelmännchen T-shirt very easily in Berlin.

And this is a long shot, but if your girlfriend is at all into musical theatre, you could get her the original German cast recording CD of one or two of her favourite shows.
posted by sueinnyc at 4:38 PM on October 15, 2008

Ritter Sport candy bars in any flavor not typically available in the U.S. There are about eleventy-billion flavors, some of which are only available seasonally (Mmmmm . . . Rotweintruffel!). They're inexpensive, small and easily-transportable and, oh yeah, they are made of pure, unadulterated awesome.

Does she speak German at all or is she interested in foreign languages in general? If so, she might get a kick out of having a German-language version of one of her favorite books.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 4:50 PM on October 15, 2008

Cuban cigars.
posted by fixedgear at 4:57 PM on October 15, 2008

Kinder Eier

Seriously. Everyone loves them, even if they don't know it yet.
posted by piedmont at 5:12 PM on October 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

kindereggs! (it is illegal to sell them in the us right now, but only because they are supposedly a choking hazard for young kids)
posted by susanvance at 5:13 PM on October 15, 2008

Chocolate. I hate RitterSport (sorry FHT!) but lots of other German chocolate is killer-good.

Kinder Eggs (or Kinder anything) is good, even if it's really Italian.
posted by rokusan at 5:18 PM on October 15, 2008

Fourthing the Kinder Eggs. They are nigh impossible to find.
posted by ElectricBlue at 5:29 PM on October 15, 2008

If you reckon you can get them to survive the trip, how about Edelweiss?
posted by rodgerd at 5:43 PM on October 15, 2008

Kinder Eggs are available in Canada. Also, they're not very good.

I'd vote for the Appelmanchen shirt/gadgets/jewelry/whatever.
posted by jeather at 6:13 PM on October 15, 2008

When my parents went over to Germany, I had them bring me back a Cuckoo clock - the brand of which escapes me at the moment. It's one of those things that you can pay whatever you want for, but I would think you can find one for around 50 euros.

In lieu of that, does she like beer? What about a beer stein?
posted by mrhaydel at 6:15 PM on October 15, 2008

Ritter Sport in all flavors. I (Ms. Vegetable) am quite sad that I can't get the best flavors in the U.S.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:39 PM on October 15, 2008

Oh, I would be very happy if someone were to bring me kinder eier (the little toys are fun), marzipan from luebeck (although it's holiday season so you can prob get that here), oh, and Nestle smarties (pastel m&m-type candies that taste soooo much better than m&M's). Um, also, knorr mixes, if she likes to cook. There are lots that you can't get in the U.S. And delicious cheese and schwartzbrot if you dare to bring in agricultural products.
posted by echo0720 at 6:58 PM on October 15, 2008

I still have some really lovely and unusual wooden, handmade Christmas ornaments from my trip to Germany. They've lasted over a decade and I still really love them. Little trees with birds on them, little kids climbing up ropes, little santa clauses -- very cute ornaments that at the time cost me less than $20 total. Good luck!
posted by onlyconnect at 7:03 PM on October 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yea the Kinder line is teh awesomenaterness. My mom loves the hipposnacks. They're crunchy something covered in chocolate and filled with hazelnut goo.

Or you could bring home some real Absinthe...
posted by TomMelee at 7:33 PM on October 15, 2008

I would mostly want someone to bring me back gluhwein. At < 2 EUR a bottle, this will supplement whatever else you choose nicely.
posted by Slenny at 7:46 PM on October 15, 2008

I'm assuming you are returning to the US from Germany?

Check the US Customs website before you buy meat, plants or anything that is living or once lived. There's some stuff they won't let you bring through (assuming you're honest and declare what you have).

And if you're dishonest, and you get caught, it could be a fine (couple hundred dollars) - depending on what you have hidden, how egregious the offense is, and whether the officer that catches you is busy or wants to bother doing the paperwork.

Chocolate and alcohol (in limited quantity) seems to be the most common types of food gifts that pass without trouble.
posted by abdulf at 8:17 PM on October 15, 2008

Assuming your girlfriend cares for such things, I strongly, strongly recommend bringing back a bottle or two of good german wine. The Rhineland is well known for its wine, it's wonderfully cheap, and it is amazing. You could even make it a romantic dinner.

The other thing I was glad to bring back was a large tin of german chocolate hot chocolate mix. It's been lasting me a good long while, and is a gift I can enjoy for some time.
posted by internet!Hannah at 8:28 PM on October 15, 2008

Kinder eggs! (Though I remember them as Kinder Suprise.)
posted by Brian Puccio at 9:08 PM on October 15, 2008

If this does not offend your religious beliefs, you should get an advent calendar. We got my son a Playmobil one recently. But they have all sorts of advent calendars. (Adventskalendar, I think.) Of course, she has to wait to open it. So don't make that the only thing.

My SO brought me some awesome chocolate cherry chili bars. Maybe that?
posted by acoutu at 9:17 PM on October 15, 2008

If I were going to bring something back for a girlfriend, I would get her a Dirndl.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:50 PM on October 15, 2008

Ok, hold on, I need to take a strong stand against Kinder eggs:

A) they are gross, really, at least those sold in the u.s.
B) the toys are not that great anymore, just plastic cartoon characters
C) they are readily available in any semi-large U.S. city, see: Cost Plus World Market

I admit they are cute, you could get her ONE as a cute addition to something nicer. Also, Ritter bars are widely available in the u.s. last time i checked. see again: cost plus or other similar store.

i would get her some nice german chocolate if that is the route you choose to go, i feel you could locate a local artisan for some quality stuff.

THAT SAID: WHAT YOU NEED TO GET HER IS A PAIR OF LEIDERHOSEN!! I would personally love to wear a real pair of leiderhosen, i think it could be very fashion forward. I don't know your girlfriend so maybe this is a little out-there for her fashion tastes, but it is at least a great costume. Alternatively, I think a pair of cute german socks (like what they would wear WITH leiderhosen) is a unique gift.
posted by dahliachewswell at 10:07 PM on October 15, 2008

Leiderhosen are the pants you buy and then regret it?

I think you mean Lederhosen
posted by ghost of a past number at 10:24 PM on October 15, 2008 [9 favorites]

Note that Lederhosen and Dirndls aren't part of the local culture in the regions near Frankfurt or Berlin. They're very much a Southern German thing (best known perhaps in Bavaria), and you're not apt to find any Tracht - let alone any high-quality Tracht - in the parts of Germany you're visiting. It's a little early to find Christmas-related stuff (and many of the German handmade ornaments you may have seen are probably from the East and South as well.)

If she likes alcohol: Good German rieslings are very, very good. Good, local German beers are also very, very good - sure, you can pick up a Franziskaner Weißbier in the US, but you probably can't pick up some of the delicious brews made by local breweries or monestaries. Chocolate - maybe, but only if it's actually something you can't get back in North America. Ritter Sport and Kinder chocolate (at least Kinder eggs) seem pretty easy to find in New England, for example. Nice gourmet stuff from a local Konditorei/Confiserie, on the other hand - to die for. If she reads German (or any other European language) - pick up some foreign-language books! Way, way cheaper than getting them shipped across the Atlantic.
posted by ubersturm at 11:05 PM on October 15, 2008

The Germans do do great advent calendars and Christmas cards, in the classic evergreen/snow style. The card we got every year from my uncle in Bavaria was always a stand-out.

Now's the season for Federweißer: relatively low-strength, cloudy young wine. This German blogger seems to like this year's crop, and it's not something you'll get at Cost Plus.

I'll also put in a word for writing instruments and stationery: Lamy and Pelikan sell their high-end stuff in the US, but the school pens don't generally cross the pond. Faber-Castell's there too. Also, Germany is the land of Gmund. You will find very good stationers.

Just go to KaDeWe and see what catches your eye.
posted by holgate at 11:56 PM on October 15, 2008

If she reads German (or any other European language) - pick up some foreign-language books!

And the little Reclam editions are just gorgeous things in themselves. If you bring back an extra notebook, I'd gladly reimburse.)
posted by holgate at 12:05 AM on October 16, 2008

Anything Diddl. It is ridiculously cute, there's a huge variety of merchandise, I haven't see any in the States thus far (to my great, great disappointment, as I used to be part of the whole stationary-trading-craze), and simply because Diddl love needs to be spread wherever possible.

Depending on what kind of person she is, she might also like a Füller - a fountain pen, essentially, used with cartridges. Especially Pelikan ones. I know it seems kind of lame to bring back stationery implements, but don't underestimate the difference in feel writing with one of these versus writing with a ballpoint, or even a halfway decent calligraphy fountain pen from US stationery stores. I have looked, and not been able to reproduce the experience. Plus there are some very, very gorgeous models out there.

Both of these are available pretty much everywhere, department stores, etc.

Have fun!
posted by Phire at 1:07 AM on October 16, 2008

I was going to also suggest Diddl!

Otherwise, a delicious Riesling is good for a nice gift.
posted by that girl at 5:25 AM on October 16, 2008

Best answer: When I was in France I hit a small store in Paris that specialized in regional folk art, the kinds of things you might find for sale in a small village market but would rarely if ever find outside of the country. I knew it was the perfect store the second I noticed it. I brought home something extremely simple - a knife and a cutting board - but my wife loved it, precisely because it was simple, functional, and not anything we could have just as easily purchased at home. (While you can buy a Nontron knife in the US, how many places can you go to see the knife in person, and handle it, before choosing one? I've only ever seen them online...)

With that in mind I'd look specifically for something that says "I was thinking of you and wanted to bring you something unique" rather than "hey look I bought you the stereotypical thing from the country I visited". If you're stuck, talk to a German, and ask him or her for a suggestion of a small shop that might fit the bill.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:03 AM on October 16, 2008

Niederegger Marzipan and Fassbender und Rausch chocolate (both also available at KaDeWe), they are delicious. Concerning the suggestion of Gluehwein above, I wouldn't bring any - one can easily make it at home (boil wine with spices, add orange slices). And yes, Ampelmaennchen stuff is cute.
posted by meijusa at 7:39 AM on October 16, 2008

caution live frogs has it.
I still say you should get some Kinder Eier for people. The German ones aren't nearly as lame as the ones we import.
posted by piedmont at 7:56 AM on October 16, 2008

Go the food market - it was open today, and I believe it is on Saturday too - but ask someone to find out. It's in the town centre. Buy her some Green Sauce (the local speciality) and try it yourself with potatoes at the market. Then some of the Apple wines - at the moment (I was there last week) they have the new apple juice that's starting to ferment - it's amazing.
posted by einekleine at 8:44 AM on October 16, 2008

Germany is known for other stuff besides lederhosen and kinder eggs.

50 Euros can go a long way. Pass on the Kinder eggs and get something big.

Some non-stereotypical ideas:

- German-made knives or cutlery (maybe out of price range)
- Cool espresso cups (German-made), or one of those stovetop espresso makers - there are lots of different varieties of these if you look around
- A German translation of a favorite book. A UK edition of one of the Harry Potter books if you can find an English bookstore (or a big bookstore with an English section).
- A bottle of Curry ketchup. Currywurst is huge in Germany. Pack this in your checked baggage.
- Stuffed animal made by Nici (the German equivalent of GUND)
posted by kenliu at 9:13 PM on October 16, 2008

Since kenliu came in with knives, I might add that Germany is home to DOVO --- they make Merkur shaving razors that are considered a standard in wet-shaving circles. Your girlfriend probably doesn't need one[1], but she might enjoy a manicure set or something like that.

[1] Some women do use a badger brush and high-end soap, but trying to shave your legs with a double-edge would probably be suicidal.
posted by ghost of a past number at 5:49 AM on October 17, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I went to the Floh Markt in Berlin. Highly recommended.
posted by miles1972 at 9:57 AM on October 21, 2008

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