2011 marks the 30th Anniversary of one of Southern Nevada’s sweetest attractions and most beloved chocolatiers, Ethel M Chocolates.
Founded in 1981 by Forrest Mars Sr. of the legendary MARS family, the Henderson chocolate company continues to uphold the traditions of quality and care set forth by their founders more than three decades ago.
Ethel M Chocolates was established by Forrest Mars Sr. to pay tribute to his mother, Ethel Mars, and the chocolate tradition she began in 1911 in her Tacoma, Washington kitchen. Today, the Henderson chocolatier continues that tradition by making chocolates just like Ethel Mars did – without preservatives and by using some of her original recipes.
“From our quality ingredients to the methods we use to prepare our chocolates, we strive to keep the heritage of Ethel Mars alive,” said Jennifer Gudgel, Director of Gourmet Chocolates for Ethel M Chocolates.
From humble beginnings, the desert sweet spot has witnessed Henderson grow up around them and now operates eight retail locations across the Las Vegas Valley.
“When production first started at Ethel M, we were a factory in the middle of the desert,” Gudgel added. “Today, we are in the middle of a vibrant community where people work, live and play. We’ve seen the community mature around us and embrace our chocolates. We feel honored that Ethel M Chocolates has become engrained in the fabric and heritage of our Henderson community and beyond.”
Today, the preservative free chocolate line has matured into a house-hold name for Nevadans and a “must-see, must-taste “brand for thousands of tourists each year. Creating a variety of milk, dark and white chocolates along with timeless brittles and nut clusters, Ethel M has become the quintessential Las Vegas souvenir and the perfect addition to any social gathering. The factory, which offers guests a self-guided tour and a detailed look at the chocolate making process, attracts an estimated 700,000 visitors per year. Chocolate lovers are invited to sample signature pieces and peruse the well-stocked retail shop at the conclusion of the tour.
Outside the chocolate shop doors, visitors can roam through the three-acre Botanical Cactus Garden featuring more than 300 species of plants. Half of the plants in the garden are cacti and succulents largely native to the American Southwest, and the rest are desert trees and shrubs from the Southwestern United States, Australia and South America. All of the plants were chosen both for the beauty of their floral displays and their ability to adapt to the climate of Southern Nevada. For the past 17 years, each November the Cactus Gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland and have become a holiday tradition for Southern Nevada and Las Vegas tourists alike.
To celebrate this milestone, Ethel M Chocolates will launch a 30th Anniversary Commemorative Collection this summer, featuring 32 original pieces , all perfectly packaged in a commemorative, Las Vegas-themed keepsake tin. Sample pieces include::
- Lemon Satin Crème
- Rum Liqueur
- Coconut Delight
- Classic Caramel
- Almond Butter Krisp
Once on sale, the Commemorative Collection will be available for purchase at any of the Las Vegas retail locations and online.
For more information on store locations, hours, or to place orders visit: www.ethelm.com. Follow Ethel M Chocolates on Twitter @ethelmchocolate or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/EthelMChocolates