Children were fed blood-infused chocolate for years in Russia, here’s why

Chocolate and blood? That’s a combo we never thought would exist, but alas it does in Russia, and it’s actually a famous sweet for children.

Children were fed blood-infused chocolate for years in Russia, here’s why
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Weirdly enough, all of us know what blood tastes like. It’s not because we’re blood sucking vampires, but we’ve all accidentally bit the inside of our cheek or sucked a small paper cut on our finger at least one time in our life.

Luckily, the number of times our tongue has come into contact with human blood is limited, but people in numerous communities are quite used to eating the blood of other animals.

Blood in food

In Europe, black pudding or blood sausage is a famous delicacy that uses beef or pork blood. Other cultures also have their own way of using animal blood to elevate their food, but this special ingredient is more commonly seen in savoury foods.

That’s exactly why the idea of putting blood in a dessert or sweet treat seems a little out of the ordinary—but that’s exactly what they do in Russia.

Blood chocolate

During the times of the Soviet Union, a chocolate called Hematogen was making rounds in the Russian market. What was so special about this candy? One of its components was cow’s blood. The Hematogen bars were made out of condensed milk, syrup, beet sugar, and something listed as 'black food albumin' aka cattle blood—5% of it to be precise.

They were branded as ‘healthy and tasty’ in the 1920s and were specifically recommended for children as they were supposed to help fight against anaemia—a deficiency in the quality or number of red blood cells in the body. Side note: soldiers actually used to be given a concoction of cow’s blood and egg yolk during the Great Patriotic War so that they could become stronger.

But the treat was so popular that they were available in all sorts of food shops and pharmacies. As rbth.com explains, it was also a cheap way to compensate for iron deficiency when meat was scarce.

In modern times, however, you're probably unlikely to find the bars at a Russian pharmacy. Nevertheless, NY Post reports that jumbo packs of the blood-infused chocolate are being sold Amazon.