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Sep 2, 2008 04:55 PM

Food souvenirs from Alaska

I'm about to go on a trip to Alaska and was wondering what are good food-type souvenirs to bring back for family and friends?

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  1. My best friend has lived in Alaska for many years, and often sends me native food items......I've learned not to expect much. Preserves/jellies made with salmonberries or low-bush cranberries don't have much fruit flavor. I am not a fan of smoked salmon, but have received LOTS of it over the years - sometimes in jars, other times in foil packs that come in wooden boxes with colorful ceramic tiles bearing native totem designs like raven and wolf....the boxes and tiles are nice. The catnip - called something like Matanuska Thunderstruck, was pronounced worthy by my Siamese.
    Caribou jerky?...I don't eat Rudolph. I've noticed that most of the things she sends me are actually made in the lower 48. Makes sense - salmon, moose, and caribou - with the short growing season there's not going to be a lot of farming at large-scale commercial levels. It won't surprise you to learn that there are scads of non-food souvenir items available....if your friends have a sick sense of humor, there are moose-nugget trinkets galore (and by nugget, I don't mean meat). Perhaps you should post this question on the Pacific Northwest and/or Elsewhere in America board(s).

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      I was married in Alaska 13 years ago, and haven't been back since, but when we were there we got a big kick out of the reindeer sausage, and consumed it as often as we could.

    2. There used to be a business in Homer (a spectacular place, by the way, which you must not miss!) called Alaska Wild Berry Products. Unlike Greygarious, I loved everything I ever got from there, my favorite being a mixed-berry juice called Homer Spit, a joking play on words referring to the REAL Homer Spit, which is a man-made earth jetty stretching about a half-mile into Katchemak Bay. Don't know if they're still in business. I would also be more than happy to receive any smoked salmon, caribou jerky or moose sausage anyone might send me...want my address? ;-)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Will Owen

        Will, you beat me to it. In our house, the phrase "too much smoked salmon" would be a real oxymoron.

      2. A nice gift would be the ulu knife with a cutting board. I use mine all the time which I bought back from Alaska. They come in all price ranges and sizes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Eileen

          I also love my ulu...the best for making a chopped salad.

        2. My husband brought birch syrup back from his trip to Alaska. Not food, but food-related, he also brought back an ulu and ulu cutting board/bowl which we use regularly.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lgss

            Yes, I forgot about the ulu and board that my friend sent - eventually it dulled, but I did use it a lot. For those unfamiliar, it is something like a mezzaluna. Also in the non-food area is clothing made from qiviut, a fine, mohair-like yarn made which is the undercoat of the musk ox.

          2. I second the Ulu idea. After looking at a lot of them, I'd suggest if in Anchorage taking a tour of the Ulu Factory - well worth it. Their product is much superior to other brands of Ulus. You can by that brand elsewhere as well. This was the food gift I gave to me, as I don't eat salmon. But I sure ate a TON of the freshest Halibut you can imagine!

            We spent a couple of weeks in Alaska last summer driving here and there The trip down to Homer is breathtaking and well worth the time. Seward however was not. The best part was the time spent in Valdez, tho it's a bit of a drive. I highly recommend forking out the money for the sightseeing trip aboard the LuLu Belle with Captain Fred Rudolf. Take the afternoon tour, it's longer, and the pictures and memories of sailing up to the glaciers, of bald eagles, whales, puffins and other sea life will never become old. I Highly recommend the Alaska Halibut House in Valdez - fresh local caught fish and exceptional service. It is no fancier than a Dairy Queen, but it doesn't need to be.