Do you ever struggle to find a gift for a loved one that's the perfect blend of special and traditional? I know that I do. When I'm getting birthday or holiday presents for the lovers of sweets in my life, I always look at candy first.
But it's hard to say "thinking of you" with a pile of mass-manufactured drugstore candy. Gourmet chocolates by different companies are a great way to go the extra mile and add a layer of decadence to a gift. Meanwhile, if you're a chocolate lover yourself, you might want to sample different high-quality chocolate brands as a gift to yourself.
Ethel M Chocolates is more than a chocolate manufacturer. In addition to creating multiple lines of gourmet chocolates, the company's chocolate factory is a major tourist attraction in Nevada. The chocolates themselves can be shipped to any area in the continental US, but you haven't fully experienced the magic until you see the factory.
The Chocolate Factory
Las Vegas is a city that boasts hundreds of tourist attractions, and the Ethel M Chocolates factory is one of the most popular. In addition to self-guided tours, the factory boasts multiple events, a cactus garden spanning three full acres, and a gift shop filled with gourmet creations.
Ethel M's unique customer experience comes from the fact that all of the chocolates are handmade. By offering consumers a glimpse into the candy creation process, the company drives home the fact that their chocolates are not mass-produced and soulless.
Every year, around eight million pieces of chocolate are handcrafted. Over 2,500 pounds of peanuts are used to create the candy's peanut butter filling every year, and more than a thousand pounds of natural purees are used to create fruit fillings.
The factory produces and molds more than seventy-seven thousand pounds of milk chocolate and fifty-five thousand pounds of dark chocolate annually.
Chocolate Tasting Classes
Tasting classes at the factory all last from thirty to forty-five minutes. During the experience, you'll be taught about the production, refinement, and sourcing of chocolate. The guide will also explain how to identify different flavors and subtle hints in different chocolates.
The chocolate and wine tasting classes include flavor combinations of chocolate with four different Trinchero wines. People who participate in tastings receive twenty percent off of any purchases they make in the factory on the same day.
One surprising aesthetic feature of the Ethel M factory is the Botanical Cactus Garden, which is the largest cactus garden in Nevada. It is also among the most varied cactus collections in the world. The garden spans three acres of succulents, cacti, and ornamental plants that can tolerate drought.
More than 300 plant species are housed on the grounds. Around half of them are succulents and cacti found in the Southwest, while the other plant species include shrubs and trees native to the Southwest, South America, and Australia.
Locations and Company History
Ethel Mars served as the inspiration for Ethel M Chocolates. Her kitchens, dating back to 1910, inspired her son Forrest Mars Sr. to create the company and sell hand-crafted batches of chocolate using his mother's recipes.
Since the business was originally based in Nevada, Forrest had to innovate regularly to avoid having the chocolates compromised by the desert heat. Forrest's dedication to the company lives on in the Ethel M policies today. All the chocolates continue to be hand-crafted using precise recipes that blend art and science.
Despite being a much more expansive company nowadays, the chocolate makers stick to their roots. All of the chocolates continue to be produced in small, preservative-free batches.
The main company location remains Las Vegas, where the Chocolate Factory attracts tourist and a chocolate shop sells completed goods in the town square. There is also a shop and tasting room located in the Galleria in Glendale, California, along with a store in Los Angeles, California.
Design Your Own Gift
One of the neatest services provided by Ethel M Chocolates is the ability to design a customized gift to send to a loved one. As with other arrangements, the gift is put together by hand. You can have a custom gift shipped to any place in the continental United States.
The first step is to select the gift box that will hold the chocolate. Different box shapes and sizes can hold different amounts of chocolate. With the large heart box, for example, you can deliver between thirty and fifty chocolate pieces of up to six different varieties.
If you're working with a budget, though, you might be interested in a small heart assortment. This custom box comes with between fifteen and twenty-five chocolate pieces spanning a maximum of four varieties.
Square and rectangular boxes of varying sizes are also available, if you're not creating a romantic gift. Different boxes come with different engravings, designs, and ribbon fastenings.
Gift Boxes and Baskets
Unlike a customized order, the pre-created gift boxes and baskets are designed by the Ethel M staff. Gift boxes typically include chocolate in assorted themes such as the classic collection, deluxe collection, and chocolate covered pecan brittle collection. Also available are dark chocolate, sea-salted caramels, milk chocolate, and cherry cordial assortments.
Gift baskets tend to be a little pricier. Unlike single boxes, a basket comes with multiple packaged items. One example is the standard Premium Chocolate Gift Crate. This offering includes both a 16-piece classic chocolate collection and a 24-piece mixed brittle collection. But it also comes with a caramel apple and chocolate-dipped cherries.
Ethal M Chocolates creates a variety of different liqueur-chocolate blends. Some of the most popular offerings are the Creme Liqueurs collection, the Cherry Cordial Dark Chocolate collection, and the Champagne & Cordials Premium Chocolate collection. There are also two design-your-own options for liqueur chocolates.
The snacks available for purchase through Ethal M Chocolates are not part of the hand-crafted chocolate lines. Instead, they include old recipes for snack bars and bags of chocolate-covered snack food. You can get espresso beans covered in dark chocolate, raisins covered in milk chocolate, and even nuts dipped in sugar free chocolate.
As for traditional recipes, the company still sells Mars Bars that use the original 1932 recipe, Forever Yours bars with recipes from 1936, and a peanut butter bar whose recipe dates back to 1981. Multiple chocolate bars are wrapped and sold as well. Even caramel apples decorated with signature white and milk chocolate are available.
Ethel M Chocolates is a company that's been creating and manufacturing chocolate for more than one hundred years. In addition to creating multiple variations of chocolate and candy, they're also geared toward gift-giving. You can choose from pre-existing gift baskets, gift boxes, or the ability to customize your own gift for a loved one.
The company has multiple locations throughout the United States, but the most notable is the Chocolate Factory in Nevada. This area is a tourist attraction with events, educational resources, and an appreciation for the fantastic delight that comes with candy making.
If you have a chance, the Factory is worth visiting just for the sake of the company's passion. But for those who live in the continental United States and too far from Nevada, Ethel M Chocolates will ship any of their products to you.
Whether you want to have a taste yourself or need the perfect gift for a special occasion, an Ethel M Chocolates purchase is a unique way to explore new taste horizons.