How ‘chocolate salami’ saved Soviet housewives from leftovers

Legion Media
Soviet women had an incredible knack for being able to cook a wide variety of dishes from the same ingredients. For example, what could anyone possibly do with crumbled cookies and cacao? A delicious dessert that can melt your heart!

Throwing away food was frowned upon in the Soviet Union. Older generations starkly remembered the lean years when it was hard to find many basic food items. So, people learned to be creative with leftovers. If you open the country’s main cookbook, Healthy and Tasty Food, you’ll find many recipes where leftovers are among the list of ingredients. This was especially common when making desserts.

Sweet childhood

Sweets were an essential part of the Soviet childhood. There was a cult of sweets! Every special dinner and holiday ended with generous servings of chocolate cake or candies, and not only for children. On March 8, women were presented with boxes of chocolates, while war veterans received them on Victory Day, May 9. In general, chocolate in any form - candies, bars, and boxes - is still considered a festive treat, and greatly appreciated.

Despite the fact that there was no shortage of sweet things to eat, their variety was limited. Therefore, many housewives tried to prepare desserts using whatever ingredients were available. Soviet women were unrivaled in this ability, able to make dozens of different types of cakes with the most basic ingredients: condensed milk, butter and cocoa powder. They could turn anything sweet into something "chocolate." Besides serving the purpose of dessert, these recipes were a way to dispose of leftover food, which many considered a pity to throw away. 

Soviet cuisine when times were lean

There were many mouthwatering recipes using leftovers; for example, fresh bread. On the fourth day it became stale, so, what to do with it? Well, you could use it for breadcrumbs, or dip in milk and make a type of French toast for breakfast.

Even crumbs from cookies could be added to the dough, or used as a topping. Masterpieces of Soviet cuisine, such as “potato cake,” or truffle candy, were made in this manner.

The most creative dish was “chocolate salami,” the name of which indicates that not only chocolate was rare, but also salami. This dessert was prepared on special occasions and holidays, with children helping their parents. What was this taste of Soviet childhood like? Let's try! 


Sugar biscuits - 200 gr

Sugar – 50 gr

Cocoa powder - 3 tbsp.

Butter - 70 g

Milk - ½ cup

Walnuts - 20 g


1. Lightly fry walnuts in a pan, constantly stirring until you sense the pleasant smell of roasted nuts. Immediately place in a bowl.

2. Crush 1/3 of the nuts and 1/3 of the biscuits in a blender. Break the remaining biscuits into small pieces, and the remaining nuts with a knife, but not very fine.

3. Combine cookies and nuts with biscuits. Mix.

4. Now prepare the chocolate sauce. Mix cocoa powder, milk, sugar and butter in a small pan. The butter should be at least 82 percent. Put on low heat for 7-10 minutes, not allowing to boil. The butter should completely melt. Stir sauce until smooth.

5. Pour warm sauce into bowl with biscuits, and stir with a spoon.

6. If the mixture is too dry, add one beaten egg white. The mixture should become more malleable.

7. Place dough in a small plastic bag and form chocolate salami. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

8. In the morning, cut into pieces, and serve with hot tea.

If you liked the recipe for chocolate salami, then read here about other delicious Russian desserts

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