5 Local Chocolate Companies to Shop This Easter

Fill your baskets with these Easter Bunny-approved treats!

That treasure of the candy-making world, the chocolate Easter bunny, is a true Wikipedia page-bearing celeb. While his background is a bit fuzzy, he was likely first made by German chocolatiers (those folks are known for their adorable tin molds). And as for his popularity in the States, a trendsetting late-1800s drugstore owner in Pennsylvania is said to have given the rabbit a pop culture boost by displaying a dapper, 5-inch choco version as an Easter advertisement. On a more intimate note, no jelly bean, malted milk ball or Peep has ever eclipsed him in my history of baskets. Here’s where to find him in various guises, as well as cream eggs and other Easter confections. 

1. Northern Chocolate Co. 

2034 N. MARTIN LUTHER KING DR. | 414-372-1885

Thank goodness Jim Fetzer is only semi-retired. The 70-year-old bunnyman operates out of a restored 1885 Cream City brick storefront adorned with antique chocolate molds. He sets his own part-time hours (which means call ahead!), and while he was hard at work making bunnies back in February, he says the selection of chocolate critters will be limited. “Dark chocolate has been hard to get,” Fetzer says, citing supply chain issues. He will also offer his exquisite mint meltaways. Be prepared for strict rules of entry. Fetzer may ask you to remove your shoes, and he’s also banned the wearing of fur in the store. 

Chocolates from Northern Candy Co.; Photos by Matt Haas

2. Freese’s Candy Shoppe 

7312 W. GREENFIELD AVE. | 414-453-5353

Owners Wendy and Mike Matel, whose West Allis shop dates to 1928, take a personal approach to their milk and dark chocolate bunnies, naming them after their kids, Macky, Sammy and Little Lou. To those creations add themed bunnies (hot rod and motorcycle) and a one-pound seated bunny. They also make cream-filled eggs and hand-molded chocolate baskets filled with assorted treats. “You can eat the basket!” says Wendy, who calls dipping candy a lost art.

 
 
 
 
 
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3. Ultimate Confections 

820 N. 68TH ST. | 414-778-0636

This Tosa shop is ready for you, meeting pent-up candy demand with a handful of bunny styles in milk, dark and white chocolate, along with 12 flavors of filled eggs, chocolate-dipped Peeps and other confections. 

4. Kehr’s Candies 

MILWAUKEE PUBLIC MARKET, 400 N. WATER ST. | 414-933-2985

This old-fashioned chocolate shop is doing rabbits in milk and dark chocolate (sizes vary), plus enchantments ranging from bunny-themed suckers and chocolate eggs to hatching chicks or a “super limited,” one-and-a-half-pound choco bunny filled with jelly beans. 

 
 
 
 
 
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5. Tabal Chocolate 

7515 HARWOOD AVE., WAUWATOSA | 414-585-9996  

The sole bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the area, Tabal specializes primarily in single-origin bars, with some cacao products. The shop is also in the Easter game, conjuring up the Bunny Butt Cocoa Bomb, a ball of Tabal dark chocolate filled with marshmallows and hot chocolate mix. Let the bomb melt in a mug of hot milk of your choice, and voila, sipping bliss.


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s April issue.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.