Kehr’s Candies: The Sweetest Treat In All of Milwaukee
When you are an outsider walking into the Milwaukee Public Market, it is easy to be overwhelmed with everything there is to offer. You name it they got it. Wine tastings, Mexican food, Italian food, Seafood, bakeries, gyros and even my personal favorite, candy shops. Kehr’s Candies has been around since 1930 and has been in the Milwaukee Public Market since its inception in 2005. Walking past Kehr’s you will see rows and stacks of chocolate candies and turtles in glasses cases, with even an assortment of various ice cream flavors. The most notable sweet treat that stood out was a whole plate of M&M caramel apples. I spoke with Dariane, an employee of Kehr’s to get a better background as to what makes Kehr’s different from all the other establishments in the market and why somebody would sell a caramel apple with M&Ms on it.
The inspiration for the M&M caramel apple came from Kehr’s owner who felt that there should be some new flavor and felt inspired to completely reshape the caramel apple. So why not add M&Ms! People already love M&Ms and caramel apples so why not combine the two and make life simpler. I was actually shocked to hear when Dariane told me that the apple is only a week old and is already a hot pickup.
While this delicious creation might be new, Kehr’s is a lot more old fashioned then people may believe. Using the same original formula since its beginnings, Kehr’s believes in doing things the old fashioned way going as far as using the same machinery, with a crew of five working hand in hand to flawlessly craft the chocolate the way it is. Most of the candy and chocolate is made in a factory that can be found on 36th and Lisbon, but the rest of it is sculpted, boxed and displayed within the market.
Dariane explained how she and other workers within the market will warm up the chocolate or caramel and dip the apples or fill turtles themselves so that everybody within the market can see the dedication Kehr’s goes to making their candy and chocolate as fresh and authentic as possible.
Even though chocolate takes a long time to go bad, Kehr’s alternates their candies everyday by putting them on display one day, and then putting them in assorted boxes the other in order to stay fully fresh. This technique allows their chocolate to stay fresher longer, without ever losing a sweet taste.
Some of their treats are saved and preserved from other sellers, such as the giant figures that are made completely out of chocolate. While these might just be display in some parts, Kehr’s sells these giant figures for many parties and various weddings that dozens upon dozens of people can share. Kehr’s also has great success with their ice cream with mint chocolate chip being not only their best selling ice cream, but one of their best-selling items through the whole establishment.
With all of the business going on in the Public Market one might wonder how does Kehr’s keep up with all of it? Since the entire market is so diverse with different appeals to everybody, Dariane says that Kehr’s niche is staying true to what it has done for 76 years. Being original and old fashioned. In order to accommodate for their success, Kehr’s ended up closing their other two stores in Milwaukee to fully focus on the market since much of their customers flocked the market looking for turtles and chocolate bunnies. So if you ever come to the Milwaukee Public Market and want to be cultural with some Mexican food, or unwind with a wine tasting and some cheese, don’t forget to look at Kehr’s Candies on the way out for a tasteful desert.