Thirty years of chocolatey goodness


Ethel M's Milk Chocolate collection

Who doesn’t love chocolate? I know I always have!

It started with chocolate peanut butter cups. Then I couldn’t get enough of the caramel-filled chocolates. Almost three decades later, I learned to love and eat them all. So you can imagine my delight that 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the local factory,  Ethel M Chocolates. Founded in 1981 by Forrest Mars Sr. of the legendary Mars family, the Henderson chocolate company still produces the delectable chocolate bites it did 30 years ago.

Mars started Ethel M Chocolates to pay tribute to his mother, Ethel Mars. His mother started the chocolate tradition in 1911 from her kitchen in Tacoma, Wash.  Today, the Henderson, Nev. chocolatier continues to incorporate her original recipes.


Ethel M's 30th Anniversary Commemorative Collection

“We strive to keep the heritage of Ethel Mars alive,” said Jennifer Gudgel, director of gourmet chocolates for Ethel M Chocolates.

The preservative-free chocolate line matured into a household name. Creating a variety of milk, dark and white chocolates along with brittles and nut clusters, Ethel M chocolates became the quintessential Las Vegas souvenir. 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.

My favorite part of visiting the factory? You can sample its signature pieces for free. Who would turn down free chocolate? Plus, if you want to beat the heat, the factory has a lounge area where you can kick back and sip on chocolate smoothies (available for purchase). To walk off the calories, you can roam through the three-acre Botanical Cactus Garden, which features more than 300 species of plants. 

To celebrate this milestone, Ethel M Chocolates launches its 30th Anniversary Commemorative Collection this summer. The box features 32 original pieces packaged in a commemorative, Las Vegas-themed keepsake tin. Chocolates include Lemon Satin Crème, Rum Liqueur, Coconut Delight, Classic Caramel and Almond Butter Krisp. I’ll take 10 boxes, please!

In addition to the Henderson location, there are eight retail locations across the Las Vegas Valley, including Fashion Show Mall on the Las Vegas Strip.


Most folks take their Vegas jackpot winnings back home, but my dad decided to stay here instead. That’s how I left Seattle almost 20 years ago. I moved from greenery and rainy days to hot summers, palm trees and desert. As much as I love my hometown, I decided to stick around Vegas. This city just has so much to offer. You don’t even have to be a gambler, bar hopper or an all-night partier. I love Vegas for its awesome vegan-friendly spots, concerts, swanky hotel suites and spas so big, they’re like castles. The pool scene is not too shabby either, which is why I love taking stay-cations. Besides living it up -- Vegas style -- I’m hanging out with my handsome hubby, adorable baby girl, two cats and super-fluffy Shih-Tzu. I’m also a huge fan of '90s music, shows and movies. You can find me on Google+ and Twitter.

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