The tradition of the Ethel M Chocolate Factory dates back to the early 1900s, when the founder, Forrest Mars Sr., watched as his mother crafted gourmet chocolates by hand. Now the franchise has a number of locations throughout the city of Las Vegas, visitors can purchase these pure creations and even learn how the illustrious Ethel’s Chocolate is made by visiting the factory, situated just ten miles from the Strip. The factory is open seven days a week, and here a complete chocolate experience uniquely combined with a botanical cactus garden is available for free.
Ethel Mars, the entrepreneur's mother, began the longstanding heritage of pure chocolate creations in their hometown of Tacoma, Washington. After his retirement in 1981 from a full life of developing chocolate candies, including the celebrated M&Ms, Forrest Mars Sr. moved to Henderson, Nevada, where he established the Ethel M Chocolate Factory in honor of his mother’s talent, effort, and love for creating an unadulterated candy made entirely of natural products, and that tradition carries on today at the Vegas chocolate factory. Boasting a remarkable chocolate taste, as they say, in every bite of chocolate candy, Ethel’s Chocolate pastry chef Jin Caldwell lives her passion for gastronomic delights at the factory, and after receiving recognition for her talents, it is not difficult to see why this is the best place to find chocolate in Vegas.
While it takes just a few seconds to slip a bite of chocolate past your lips, feel the velvety texture, and delight in the taste, each piece takes much more to produce. Visitors of the Ethel M Chocolate Factory will observe the time and effort that takes place during the preparation and creation of each piece of gourmet candy as well as sample several of the various treats produced by this Vegas chocolate factory.
In addition, Ethel’s Chocolate tour offers something more than just chocolate—it offers a botanical garden tour of their cactus garden, to be exact. After the tour of the production floors of the factory, guests are invited to enjoy samples of chocolate in the stylish atmosphere of Ethel’s Lounge, and additionally, walk it all off in the three-acre cactus garden, which offers a glimpse at a variety of both rare and common cactus plants, accounting for more than 300 species of cacti. This unusual combination stems from a not-so-unusual explanation: It’s simply the combination of Forrest Mars’ passion for both chocolate-making and cactus-gardening.
Tours are available daily schedule between 8:30 am and 6 pm, though the production hours are only from Monday through Friday and end at approximately 3:30 pm. Located in Henderson, Nevada, just ten miles from the lively Strip, this Vegas chocolate factory offers free admission to everyone as well as a generous supply of samples. For those who are unable to make it to the actual factory for a tour, Ethel’s Chocolate provides a solution; there are various shops located spread throughout Vegas, where visitors can drop in and purchase a few chocolates to taste or to bring back home. This uniquely sweet experience will entertain visitors of all ages, as will the similarly chocolatey attraction of M&M World, and no matter what else you do during your trip to Vegas, Ethel’s is sure to be among the best memories of your stay.
Image: Kodamakitty (Flickr)