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Need hostess gift for Russian friends

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We have been invited (3 adults) to the home of Russian-American friends for dinner Friday night. This family has been many times to our house for various holidays, but we have never previously been to theirs. They have always been very effusive with hostess gifts, always a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers and a vase as well as an expensive bottle of rare wine.

Our college age children are very good friends and have been many times to their house; we, the adults, have never been to their house at all. We would like to reciprocate their generosity, but are unclear if we should mimic the flowers and wine, or should we bring something else? This is a household of women (Grandma, Mother, 2 adult girls) - is a good bottle of Stolichnaya vodka in bad form? Should I bring a box of good chocolates?

We live in central Ohio and I don't believe there are Russian oriented grocery stores near us (have no clue). However, we have a wonderful Italian oriented store that has rare delicacies - wine, cheeses, olives, etc. Suggestions for hostess gift please? TIA!

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  1. If this family is similar to mine, then I would say for a household of women I would bring some cognac or brandy if you want something strong, or good wine.
    Flowers are pretty much a staple as well as good chocolates.

    A good italian desert for all to share would be appreciated if you want to bring something to be consumed that night.

    1. Don't know if they adhere to tradition but, if they do and you take flowers, be sure that you give them an odd number...5 or 11 ....whatever....even numbers are for the cemetery

        1. I think it's perfectly appropriate to bring flowers or good chocolates. The delicacies you mentioned would also be fine. I don't think it's necessary to bring a Russian-oriented gift (nor would I ever think to do so with any ethnicity or think of orienting a gift towards the country of their birth).

          1 Reply
          1. re: LindaWhit

            I'm glad I'm not alone. I know when I lived abroad, I didn't expect any American-oriented hostess gift. I might have found it a bit strange unless it was an American bringing me the gift because they'd been home and knew I'd like X item.

          2. A bouquet of flowers and a big box of chocolates should suffice. If you can reciprocate on the same level of generosity, go for the high end chocolate makers like Neuhaus or Richart. These cost as much as an expensive bottle of wine and are different from the usual Godiva that you see in shopping malls.

            Avoid the stereotypical vodka gift - they have friends and family back in Russia to send that sort of stuff, probably better than anything here or at least cheaper than here.

            1. An update - the dinner has been re-scheduled to Sat evening, which works well for me. We have a terrific local market here (North Market) that has outstanding local vendors including a chocolatier and fresh flower market. I will make a viist Sat morning (which coincides with farmer's market as well) and make shopping trip. Thanks for the suggestions!

              1. exotic spices, craft beer, homemade cake