Sanguinaccio is a typical Neapolitan black pudding originally prepared with pig’s blood during the Carnival holidays.

Now don’t tell me you expected something pink, heart shaped and cute for Valentine’s Day. I wouldn’t like to disappoint you but…

Things are that I’m not too up for acts of romanticism inspired by a well planned marketing strategy.  I can hold down my cynicism, though. I am not even supporting the group of men that on Saturday will march in Tokyo  for a “Smash Valentine’s Day” protest! 🙂

A pig’s blood-based chocolate sauce sounds just about right to celebrate the sweetest day of the year.


The sale of pig’s blood was banned in Italy in 1992 when the blood was more appropriately replaced by dark chocolate. Now everyone in Italy finds the idea of freshly slaughtered pig’s blood disgusting but back in the day, this sauce was just a way to celebrate the time of the year where pigs where slaughtered in the countryside guaranteeing many months of meat supply.

Obviously there’s no blood in my recipe. This sanguinaccio (from “sangue”, blood in Italian) is a thick vegan (I used rice milk) chocolate sauce flavored with lots of cinnamon and vanilla. Simply luscious.


Can I confess I just shared this chocolate sauce poured over fresh strawberries with my boyfriend? If this makes me a romantic person I’m happy to fall into the category. Here is the type of romanticism I like to embrace: made of small things and simple acts of kindness. Pacific too: no blood involved!

What about your Valentine’s Day? Are you going to eat out a romantic dinner with your partner, send a card to a secret love or cook something special for your loved one?

Sanguinaccio aka Neapolitan Chocolate Sauce


  • 500 ml rice milk or an other milk
  • 100 g sugar
  • 125 g cocoa powder
  • 50 g dark chocolate
  • 50 g cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • In a saucepan, mix cornstarch with cocoa and sugar. Slowly add the milk while continuously stirring.
  • Put on the stove over low heat and cook stirring constantly. When the mixture has thickened (about 6-8 minutes) add cinnamon and dark chocolate cut into small pieces.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes more while stirring. Remove the pudding from the heat and serve with cream, nuts or cookies. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.


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  1. Don’t suppose you have the blood version of this recipe? I don’t live in Italy so don’t have it banned particularly as I can buy black pudding, which is delicious btw. Otherwise I’ll see if I can get hold of Genarro’s recipe the one as shown on the TV and all the kids that gobbled it up.

    Blood is very good for you and means you are using more of the animal rather than all the waste that seems to occur, nose to tail eating.

  2. I’ve seen the episode of “Two Greedy Italians” where they make the pigs blood pudding. It made me shudder a bit to think about it (I don’t know why, once you have killed the pig you might as well use all the parts). I am very excited to try this non-bloody option 🙂

  3. Um, sorry to burst your bubble, but sanguinaccio is still very much eaten and adored in S. Italy. I had it in 1991, and I know my friends still make it in cookies.

    If you’re just visiting Italy, the locals enjoy saying how much they’ve left behind the old traditions. If you live there for many years, you find out that much told to outsiders is keeping “la bella figura” or “saving face”.

    1. Hi Jodie, I’m Italian myself. I’ve been living in Italy for all my life 🙂 My point is that sanguinaccio with pig’s blood is not eaten anymore. Nobody sells the original sanguinaccio in stores, there’s no demand. I’m pretty sure a few still enjoy it with blood (maybe those who run animal farms) but it’s not common.

  4. I have pretty much all of these ingredients you listed so I’m going to definitely try this out tomorrow. Very excited for your sanguinaccio!

    Interesting story about how the chocolate sauce got its name. In Vietnam, coagulated blood chunks are still a very popular ingredient in some soups. You’d think it’d taste like iron, but it’s actually kind of sweet. I haven’t had it in years of course (pescetarian after all), but I didn’t know it was part of Italian culture too. Very cool!

    Also, enjoying this sauce over strawberries?? Amazing. Sounds delicious.

    My valentine’s day was spent working on an essay for school, soooooo I had nothing amazing done. My boyfriend is in Florida so no fun date for us. BUT I’m like you, I don’t care for Valentine’s Day. I also see romanticism similarly to you. Make me dinner, baby & I’m all yours!

  5. The moment I saw your photo, I wished I could have that cup in front of me 🙂

    Nice recipe and even better photos – story about pigs not so much, but in past,
    people didn’t waste any food…

  6. That’s a very interesting story! I love reading about history food. I love Spanish thick chocolate with churros, and this sanguinaccio looks pretty similar. Pinned!