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Red Elephant Provides a Chocolate Experience You'll Never Forget

Apr. 11, 2017
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Chocolate lovers can rejoice as Milwaukee’s base of artisan chocolatiers continues to grow. Yet Red Elephant Chocolate (333 N. Broadway) strives to take chocolate to a whole new level with their Third Ward chocolate café, living up to their motto, “A chocolate experience you’ll never forget.”

The idea of a chocolate café is relatively new in the United States. Red Elephant Chocolate owner Richard Koenings is a lawyer and businessman who led a group of investors that took over failing Quality Candy (known today as Buddy Squirrel). The venture piqued Koenings’ interest in chocolates, and he has since become well versed in the history of the cocoa bean and the science behind premium chocolate production. His knowledgeable staff also shares his passion for chocolate and can answer any questions from customers. “A chocolate café takes a commonly loved and appreciated product and puts that product into a café-style, sit-down setting for people to socialize around chocolate,” Koenings said.

The café’s main display case features an artistic array of house-made, handcrafted chocolates. Most look jewel-like with delicate swirls of color—almost too pretty to eat. Yet it’s easy to move past the beauty and sink your teeth right in. The color accents are suggestive of the flavors—green for mint melt-aways, red for raspberry, etc. Other chocolate delights include peanut butter balls and sea salt caramels made with real brown sugar. All are available in milk or dark chocolate.

There are also sports-themed chocolates, solid chocolates and pops molded into the café’s elephant logo, chocolate bars, and chocolate-covered pretzel rods. They also take custom orders. An additional case offers gourmet cake by the slice, made by an outside source per the chocolatier’s specifications. Chocolate-covered cookies, cake bites in flavors such as carrot cake, ice cream, malts and shakes round out the selection.

Koenings notes the stretch between Christmas and Mother’s Day is known as “high holy days” for chocolatiers. The café offers holiday-themed chocolates, and Easter brings truffles designed to look like speckled eggs with flavors including coconut with a mild, true flavor. The milk shake truffle has a silky ganache filling like a real malted milk shake. Strawberry and cheesecake flavors round out the Easter truffle line. Red Elephant Chocolate also offers the rare theobroma chocolate, which is vegan and has no additives. It is sold by the piece and is available in the holiday assortments.

The café offers coffee drinks and hot cocoa made with 100% real chocolate. Their hot chocolate mix is also sold in to-go containers. Unique to Red Elephant is the cocoa bean tea, available in “pearl” from Africa or “gold” from South America. Like coffee, the cocoa bean tea brews the ground bean and generates health benefits of pure cocoa such as antioxidants and flavonoids into a beverage. A light aroma of cocoa gently wafts from the drink, which has the look and color of tea. It’s caffeine-free but contains a mild stimulant, theobromine; however, it’s neither addictive nor disruptive to the digestive tract.

The café also sells elephant-related merchandise, including trinkets and books about elephants. The elephant is a nostalgic nod toward the days when Milwaukee hosted the Ringling Bros. Circus Parade. The elephant is also a very intelligent, social and matriarchal creature. Red represents the color of two of the most important chocolate days: Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

For more information call 414-431-5509 or visit redelephantchocolate.com.

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