Red Elephant Chocolate Blog

Married In Milwaukee

Posted by David Kaye on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 @ 02:42 PM
Your wedding is one of the most magical days of your life. You promise yourself to the person you love, while surrounded by friends and family. You could have done this anywhere in the world, but you chose to do it here, in Milwaukee.


You can make your wedding day distinctively Milwaukee in so many ways, but one of the best is with wedding favors from Red Elephant Chocolate. Our hand crafted truffles, caramels, bars, and pops are created lovingly by artisan chocolatiers in the heart of Milwaukee’s Third Ward. Imagine a welcome bag for your out of town guests with a hand painted chocolate bar with your names and wedding date. Think of the look of delight when each seat at your reception is accompanied by a clear two piece box with luxurious truffles and caramels.


Red Elephant is dedicated to this local aesthetic, and we are excited to announce our partnership with another Milwaukee original, Miss Ruby’s bridal boutique. This adorable shop is on the second floor of Milwaukee’s historic Pritzlaff building, and is owned by local mother/daughter team Erin and Pauline for the last eight years. Their dedication to personalized service and local vendors has made them one of Milwaukee’s premiere bridal boutiques. You can find them at



Using local vendors makes a statement, about who you are and where you are from. This is your day, and it should reflect your personality, your aesthetics, and your values. Make this day the one you’ve dreamed of with two simple words, “wed local”.


Strength Over Satisfaction; Chocolate's Role in Military

Posted by Donnavon Swirth on Tue, May 31, 2016 @ 10:09 AM
"An army marches on its stomach.
While it remains debatable whom among Napoleon Bonaparte, Frederick the Great of Prussia, or Claudius Galen (Chief Physician to the Roman Army) this proverb originates, its truth is self-evident and timeless; without bodily sustenance, a military unit cannot function efficiently. Whether among Aztec warriors in 15th century Mexico or American Troops fighting in the 20th century against the Islamic State, chocolate has a long history as a military ration.


 As a mainstream military ration, pleasure has never been the goal. From the battles of the Aztec warriors to World War II, chocolate military rations have had inferior taste when compared to other chocolate consumed at the time, because military prioritizes portability and energy efficiency over pleasure.

Aztec warriors were given chocolate that was ground and formed into hard pellets and disks, being easily transported and consumed when the soldiers needed a boost. While the Aztecs had no knowledge of calories, they were aware that chocolate had  energy providing properties that could benefit their soldiers.


 Jumping forward in history to World War II, chocolate, in the form of the highly caloric and poor tasting Ration D Bar, was introduced as an official mass provided ration in the US military.

The Ration D Chocolate Bar was first commissioned by the United States Army in April of 1937. Army Quartermaster Colonel Paul Logan approached Hershey's Chocolate with four requirements for the Ration D Bar:

  1. The ration bar needed to weigh 4oz.
  2. The ration bar needed to be high in caloric value.
  3. The ration bar needed to be able to withstand high temperatures.
  4. The ration bar needed to taste "only a little better than a boiled potato."

Due to these requirements, Hershey's Chief Chemist at the time was forced to develop production methods exclusive to the Ration D Bars. Each four-ounce portion had to be kneaded, weighed, and pressed into a mold by hand. The end result was heat-resistant to 120°F. Three bars sealed in a parchment packet made up a daily ration of 1,800 calories for the individual soldier.

In order to achieve the high caloric value while avoiding a pleasurable taste, Hershey’s manufactured it with a higher chocolate liquor content than sugar. This final requirement sought to keep soldiers from eating their emergency rations in non-emergency situations. In achieving so, the D ration was detested for its bitter taste by U.S. troops, and there were reports of many being discarded rather than consumed when issued.


Military ration chocolate continues to see advances, but portability and energy efficiency over satisfaction remains the same. During Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s, the US Army Natick Labs created a chocolate bar, nicknamed the Congo Bar. The bar could withstand temperatures up to 140°F after chemists learned how to rearrange the molecules in cocoa butter. In 2008, Natick introduced chocolate-covered espresso beans to its list of options available in MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) rations.


Celebrating the Matriarchs of Our "Herds"

Posted by Donnavon Swirth on Tue, May 03, 2016 @ 02:53 PM

Mother’s day and every day is the perfect time to boast about moms of all forms,

and that includes elephants.  




Elephants are a Matriarchal society, meaning that any given herd is lead by the oldest and wisest female. Once they are grown, males are expected to leave the herd to fend for themselves. This leaves the lead female responsible for all of the others. Among her duties are mapping out territory, locating food and water, and providing protection from predators with help from the rest of the females. A full grown bull elephant is large enough to defend itself from lions and other predators, but the females are not. Thus females remain in herds, which requires them to travel greater distances to ensure that there is enough food of a wide variety for the entire herd.

While elephants can’t buy chocolates as a gift to thank mom for protecting the herd, we are able to show our love and gratitude for mom all year long. This is never more true than at Mother’s Day, when we take time out to thank mom for all the years of protection, care, meals, and generally being available for whatever we may need. Give your mother the gift of time, the gift of love, and the gift of A Chocolate Experience She'll Never Forget this Mother’s Day.


Tags: Mother's Day

A Stampede into Milwaukee and Madison; Real Artists, Real Chocolate, Real Good

Posted by Donnavon Swirth on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 @ 04:56 PM

Established in November of 2012, Red Elephant Chocolate's original cafe resides in a former produce merchant's building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Historic Third Ward. The building forms part of "Commission Row," an avenue where Italian immigrants built a thriving hub of fruit and vegetable warehouses and public markets in the early 1900s. Today Red Elephant Chocolate joins the vibrant community of shops, restaurants, galleries and theaters revitalizing the Third Ward. It is not only the home of our original Chocolate Café, but the headquarters for our business as well as the fulfillment center for our online Cloud Café.




In April of 2015, Red Elephant Chocolate opened it's second cafe on Madison, Wisconsin's State Street directly off of Capitol Square. Building upon the original concept created in Milwaukee, the location offers it's guests and chocolatiers three times the space for lounging and crafting. While still emphasizing not just the consumption of chocolate, but the dine-in "chocolate experience," Madison's location also offers select wines and occasionally, fine Wisconsin cheeses.


Urban renewal goes hand-in-hand with our philosophy of chocolate. It's about connecting the present with the past, respecting tradition, and building upon it. From the first iteration of cocoa bean tea sipped by the Aztecs and other early American civilizations, to the first chocolate bar made in America, the possibilities of the cocoa bean are constantly being discovered and rediscovered. At Red Elephant Chocolate, the story of one of the world's greatest foods is present in each bite, sip, or slurp of our chocolate delights.

Red Elephant also draws on the classic Milwaukee and Madison traditions of excellence in the chocolate industry. We employ local artists and chocolatiers to produce our selected line to exacting standards. The base of the product is the highest quality chocolate, including some derived from the rarest, single-origin South American cocoa beans. We also partner with family businesses who have passed down techniques and skills from generation to generation.

This is our way of making history your unforgettable story, or shall we say, A Chocolate Experience You'll Never Forget!™



It's an Eleversary, Red Elephant Chocolate Celebrates its 3rd Year in Business

Posted by Donnavon Swirth on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 @ 09:23 AM


“Locavores,” chocolate lovers, and elephant enthusiasts all have a great reason to cheer this November as Red Elephant Chocolate, with its original café and corporate office located in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, celebrates its third year of business as a leading pioneer of the chocolate café concept. In-house chocolatiers craft all of Red Elephant’s handmade chocolate delights, with a few select café products sourced from local artisanal producers. In addition, staff at the Milwaukee and newly opened Madison Chocolate Cafes take pride in delighting guests with made-to-order all natural chocolate based beverages, ice creams, and desserts.

In May of 2015, Red Elephant Chocolate opened its second cafe on Madison, Wisconsin's State Street directly off of Capitol Square. Building upon the original concept created in Milwaukee, the location offers its guests and chocolatiers three times the space for relaxing and enjoying. While still emphasizing the enjoyment of premium chocolate and the dine-in "chocolate experience," Madison's location also offers select wines and fine Wisconsin cheeses.

To celebrate it’s 3rd anniversary (lovingly referred to as an “Eleversary”) on Sunday, November 22nd, Red Elephant will be offering complimentary Black Diamond Hot Chocolate and Cocoa Bean Tea at both its Milwaukee and Madison chocolate cafes throughout the weekend. Red Elephant’s mascot elephant, “Cocoa,” will be parading around each location for those guests seeking to photograph an “elphie.” During the celebration, “cocoa coaches” staffed at the cafes will encourage guests to win chocolate by participating in “cocoaphact/ele-phact” trivia.

For the duration of the weekend, Red Elephant will also be offering a limited pairing of a Milk Chocolate Birthday Cake Truffle and a Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel packaged in a two-piece clear favor box. While this offering would normally have a retail value of $6.50, it will be sold exclusively for $3.95 during the event. Additionally, for every Eleversary duo purchased from its respective Milwaukee and Madison cafes, Red Elephant Chocolate will donate $1.00 to either the Sojourner Family Peace Center in Milwaukee or a similar non-profit organization in Madison.



The Sojourner Family Peace Center serves as a non-profit provider of domestic violence prevention and intervention services in the Milwaukee community. When questioned why Red Elephant chose these types of non-profit organizations as it’s donation recipients, owner Richard Koenings had this to say, “Elephant families are primarily matriarchal, meaning that the wisest females are looked to as leaders of their group. They are extremely protective of their young, and will place themselves between a predator and the young to ensure their safety. Similarly, we appreciate and commend the aid and protection Sojourner Family Peace Center and other organizations like it make available to families in times of need.”

Red Elephant invites all to a sweet kick off of the holiday season with its Eleversary weekend Friday, November 20th-Sunday, November 22nd. Enjoy the festivities while helping donate to our communities and witness what Milwaukee, and now Madison, has come to know as A Chocolate Experience You’ll Never Forget™.

Tags: Red Elephant Chocolate, birthday, Truffles, anniversary

Red Elephant Chocolate Sponsors U.S. Jr. Men's Curling Team

Posted by Donnavon Swirth on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 @ 04:24 PM

The U.S. Junior Men's High Performance Curling Team has completed an agreement with Milwaukee, WI based Red Elephant Chocolate to become the Team’s 2015/16 major sponsor.  Team skip Korey Dropkin, a student at the University of Minnesota - Duluth, stated "Our team has big goals for this season, and having Red Elephant sponsor us is a big boost.  It's great that they have our backs."


Dropkin's team of five are all under age 21, hence the Junior designation. Curling with him for the 2015 – 16 season are Tom Howell, a student from Marquette playing third position, and from Bemidji State, Mark Fenner playing second and Alex Fenson, son of Olympic Curler Pete Fenson, playing lead.  Quinn Evenson (not pictured) of Fairbanks, Alaska plays alternate. Combined the team has achieved more than fifty individual and team awards, most notably they have reached either the U.S. Junior National Championships or World Junior Championships in each of the last five years, and this past season won Silver and fifth respectively.


For Red Elephant this represents a new adventure.  "Curling is still a bit 'under the radar' of American sports fans, and we feel that our premium and artistic chocolate products are too.  This sponsorship opportunity is a fun chance for both Korey's team and Red Elephant to learn about each other's venture and 'spread the word' to our fans and followers." said Richard Koenings, President of Red Elephant.

Members of Team Dropkin will feature the Red Elephant logo on their uniforms, and appearances at the company's chocolate cafes in Milwaukee and Madison are in planning, as are other events and promotions.  Check-in at periodically for updates on the team and it’s performances.
"These young men are remarkably mature, and very outgoing off the ice as well as on.  If they achieve their goal of yet again attending and participating in the World Junior Championships [scheduled this 2015-2016 season for March in Erzurum, Turkey] the U.S. should be proud to have these curlers representing them." added Koenings.

For more information on these extraordinary young men, their achievements, and their 2015-2016 Competition Schedule visit the U.S.A Curling landing page at under Junior Men’s Team and the team’s Facebook page at


Tags: News, Red Elephant Chocolate, curling, sponsorship

So why do we give chocolate on Valentine's Day?

Posted by Paul Rauwerda on Mon, Feb 02, 2015 @ 04:56 PM

When purchasing a Valentine's gift for your sweet - what is your go-to: Jewelry? Flowers? Chocolate? Most often than not, chocolate is a staple Valentine's Day treat. But why?

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Chocolate originates  form theobroma cacao, or more commonly known as the cocoa tree. The word "theobroma" translates to "food of the gods" and was used as a aphrodisiac by Montezuma and the Aztec Indians. Christopher Columbus also brought chocolate back to Spain and chocolate was used as an exclusive form of currency amongst the affluent. By the 1800s the Cadburry brothers had begun selling chocolate to the masses and finally, in 1861 the company sold the first heart-shaped box of chocolate for the holiday.

With chocolate holding such a regal history and being offered to the masses, the tradition of giving chocolate as a gift was born. To this day, chocolate is seen as a specail gift for a special person in your life!

Send your special someone a Valentine's Day treat! Shop our new Valentine's Day chocolate here!

Tags: Valentine's Day, Red Elephant Chocolate, Specials, Chocolate, gift, Cocoaphacts, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Elephacts, Cocoa-phacts, Truffles, Valentine's

Black Cyber Weekend!

Posted by Paul Rauwerda on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 @ 09:15 AM
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Tags: Black Cyber, Cyber Monday, weekend, Black Friday

We're turning 2! Celebrate with us!

Posted by Paul Rauwerda on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 @ 09:01 AM

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, no not the holidays, Red Elephant Chocolate’s birthday! This weekend, November 21-23, 2014, come celebrate Red Elephant Chocolate’s 2nd anniversary. Located in the heart of Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward and online, Red Elephant Chocolate celebrates its second year of business as the pioneer of the chocolate café concept.  In-house chocolatiers now craft all of Red Elephant’s handmade chocolate delights, with many other café products sourced from local artisanal producers.  In addition, the Third Ward Chocolate Cafe staff delights customers with made-to-order all natural chocolate enhanced beverages, ice creams, and desserts.

To celebrate, Red Elephant Chocolate will be offering specials in-store this weekend consisting of a pair of chocolate elephants with any $15 purchase or an ‘Elephants Intertwined’ chocolate pop with a purchase of $25 or more. In addition, head into the store for your chance to win some delicious chocolate treats by answering some fun “Elephact or Cocoafact” trivia Friday-Sunday. You can also spot “Cocoa The Elephant” parading around the store over the weekend.  Don’t below for your favorite of Red Elephant Chocolate’s most popular treats – sea salt caramels or truffles – for your chance to win Red Elephant Chocolate prizes!

Tags: recipe, Chocolate Elephants, Red Elephant Chocolate, Specials, Chocolate, Milwaukee, Recipes, birthday, voting, Milwaukee Third Ward Chocolate Café, Cocoaphacts, Cocoa-phacts, anniversary, vote, win

Quadruple Threat Chocolate Cookies

Posted by Paul Rauwerda on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 @ 08:42 AM


  • 9 oz. Red Elephant Dark Chunk Chocolate (6 oz. melted / 3 oz. chopped)
  • 3 oz. Red Elephant Milk Chunk Chocolate
  • 2 oz. Red Elephant Theobroma Chunk Chocolate (melted)
  • 2 oz. Cocoa Nibs
  • 1-3/4 C all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 oz. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Melt 6 oz. Dark Chunk Chocolate and 2 oz. Theobroma Chunk Chocolate together
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder and salt
  3. Cream butter and brown sugar
  4. Add eggs and vanilla
  5. Add melted chocolate then add dry ingredients
  6. Add 3 oz. each of chopped dark and milk chocolate
  7. Add cocoa nibs to dough
  8. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes


Using a cookie scoop, place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet at least 2” apart

Bake for 8-9 minutes at 350 degrees


 5 dozen 1” drop cookies

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Tags: recipe, bake, Chocolate, Recipes, Chocolate Chips