At the market in Izmaylovo one can find a good gift... But it is rare. The market (as well as most of gift shops) sells more and more of mass-market items of mediocre quality, and sometimes you wonder: were all of these things in fact made in China? Where to go if you still want to buy a traditional, authentic gift, but more unique and more "artisan", so to say?
Ladya Fair, 15-19 December in ExpoСenter - traditional crafts
All the traditional Russian applied art - directly from their manufacturers. No Chinese-made matreoshkas! Buy Zhostovo trays, Gzhel ceramics, Bogorodskaya toys and other authentic Russian regional crafts of great choice and quality.
Ladya Fair will be held 15-19th of December in ExpoCenter, two steps from Vystavochnaya metro.
Entrance is free.
Kustodia - porcelain copies of Moscow landmarks
If Moscow became a part of your soul, take some of it with you wherever you will move after! Bolshoi Theater, Church of Ascention in Kolomenskoe, Constructivist masterpieces like Melnikov's House and the best examples of Art Nouveau like Gorky's House or Yaroslavsky Railway Station... and even a typical five-story block. Each figurine is made of fine porcelain and hand painted with as many details as possible. Looks like a more exclusive souvenir than another nesting doll, doesn't it? Keep in mind that some items are made by request and their manufacturing may take a couple of weeks.
NB Gallery - Soviet paintings
NB Gallery was the first to research the legacy of the unknown Soviet artists and to reveal their art to the world. Opened in 1991, the Gallery has helped many art lovers in Russia and abroad to start their collections. Located in the beautiful area between Arbat and Christ the Savior Cathedral, the Gallery is kind of hidden and has no sign. Write to Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org, mentioning you got the information from Maria Soboleva, and make an appointment. She speaks English and can tell a lot about their collection.
They will give you a certificate which helps to bring the piece of art across the border.
Polugar - better than vodka
Vodka is being sold around the world today, but if you want a more exclusive drink from Russia, consider this brand. Polugar is one of the older names of vodka and unlike the modern Russian drink, it has taste. Taste of grain it was made from. It is distilled in copper tanks like if used to be done before 1895 when a simplified technology of mixing alcohol with water became predominant. You can find rye, barley, wheat polugar, as well as tasteful infusions of horseradish, pepper, cherry, etc. The drink can be purchased in most of liquor shops.
Niche perfume boutique - a drop of Baikal, Moskva-City or Kamchatka aroma
Does Russian perfume even exist? - you may ask yourself while in any big perfume/ cosmetics store in Moscow. All the international brands, and none from Russia. Russian perfume today is created in small private labs by individual fragrance designers. The most interesting brands can be sampled and purchased in a private studio of Olga Gosina. Here you can get acquainted with the fragrances inspired by local nature, animals, Russian soul concepts and folk stories characters. It is a unique chance to try perfume with a smell of Moskva-City and to get an aroma very few others wear - it is manufactured in small quantities.
Contact Olga by WhatsApp to arrange you visit. Her shop is located in Kolokolnikov lane, close to Chisty Prudy or Tsvetnoy Boulevard.
Radical Chic - silk scarfs with Russian motifs
St Basil's around a neck? Why not, especially if is a silk copy of a pre-cubistic painting of an artists Aristarkh Lentulov? Radical Chic makes silk and wool scarfs which design is often inspired by Russian avant guard pictures or Moscow landmarks. One of these scarfs is dedicated to Patriarchy ponds - a favorite place of residence for Moscow expats. Can you guess which one? By the way, Patriarchy is a place where their flagman shop is located - at Bolshoi Kozihinskiy, 19/6.