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If you find yourself wanting to get me something nice but don’t know what, here are some helpful suggestions. 🙂

Food, drink & the kitchen
The stage


Instead of getting me a gift, consider donating to:

If you would prefer to get something for me personally, you’ll find some ideas below.

Food, drink & the kitchen

  • good whole-bean coffee for an automatic espresso machine: fair trade and not too bitter (Arabica rather than Robusta)
  • Emsa Optima dry food storage containers (0.18 l, 0.45 l, 1 l, or 1.6 l sizes). Love ‘em, can’t have enough of ‘em!
  • fair-trade vegan dark chocolate
  • unsweetened soy milk in 0.5 l containers, a size that is often more convenient than 1 l cartons. Provamel used to produce them but has apparently discontinued the line, so if you can hook me up, please do!
  • Please DON’T get me:
    • alcoholic drinks of any kind, or alcohol-containing foods. I can’t stand the taste of alcohol
    • any food that is not vegan (including honey)
    • tea: we always have much more than we could possibly drink, and I personally only drink certain kinds of herbal tea anyway
    • spices: I make my own blends and am very particular about the spices I use; I don’t like pre-mixed blends, and I like to buy my spices fresh in small quantities just before using/blending them
    • sweets (including jam) in large quantities – we always have far more than we could possibly use, and end up throwing them away or re-gifting them
    • recipe books. I like the idea, but end up never using them

The stage

I am an opera, theater, and concert lover and rarely treat myself to good seats, so gift certificates are always greatly appreciated, especially for the Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper, Philharmonic, or Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin, the Staatsoper or Burgtheater in Vienna, or the Metropolitan Opera in NYC.

In case you want to get more specific, some of my favorite performers are listed below. Some of these rarely if ever perform near me, so a heads-up about a forthcoming performance in my part of the world is already a great gift.

  • Sabine Devieilhe, Sonya Yoncheva, Anna Prohaska, Olga Peretyatko (soprano)
  • Elīna Garanča, Emily d’Angelo, Tara Erraught (mezzo-soprano)
  • Ewa Podleś (contralto)
  • Juan Diego Flórez (tenor)
  • Laurent Naouri (bass-baritone)
  • Idil Biret, Khatia Buniatishvili (piano)
  • Diego Fasolis, Dietrich Paredes, Jeannette Sorrell (conductors)
  • Souad Massi, Onur Akın, Leszek Długosz, Daniel Kahn, Reinhard Mey, Paul Simon, Mikhail Shcherbakov (singer-songwriters)
  • Alim & Fargana Qasimov (mugham)
  • Huntza, Otava Yo (folk rock bands)
  • Pet Shop Boys (pop)
  • Erisioni or the Georgian National Ballet (dance)
  • any of the stand-up comedians collected here


Seriously, they are everywhere. The shelves in my office are overflowing. The shelves at home are double-stacked. There are piles in every room. The to-read-urgently book tree is buckling under the weight of its load. So if you get me another book to read in my “spare time,” I will politely thank you while trying to suppress nervous laughter. If you still want to get me a book, please make sure it’s something I need for work (e.g. by checking my research interests on this page) and I don’t already have it!