The first person to eat a potato probably had no idea what he was in for. That’s a bit how I felt when I came across a bowl of these misshapen clods displayed among the fancifully decorated cakes at Three Sisters Deli, a tiny Russian shop packed with cured meats, cheeses, and dry goods. The proprietress and I didn’t share a language, so all could get was the name in the notebook, shokoladnie kartofel (transliterated from the Cyrillic), or “chocolate potatoes.” Inside, I was told, they contained “milk.”

This is how that looks: