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Ethel M Chocolates Factory and Cactus Garden

1,624 Reviews

Ethel M Chocolates Factory and Cactus Garden

1,624 Reviews
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vzabaly wrote a review Sep 18
Burbank, California39 contributions32 helpful votes
I've been to the Ethel M factory and garden many times, including during their Christmas holiday season festivities. This is an actual candy factory where you can see a chocolate making and packing line; regardless of what day of the week or time that I've visited, there's always been at least a few workers tending the machines. A lot of the process is automated, but if you're there when they're running a batch, you can see the full process with employees overseeing each step. This isn't a factory tour, but rather a series of viewing windows where you can see the process. Unless you want to linger, watching the chocolate making probably won't take more than 5-10 minutes. The main attraction is, of course, being able to purchase freshly-made chocolate, all of which is made right there on the premises. Solar energy is used to power the factory, which not only produces everything you can buy on-site, but also chocolates for sale at other Ethel M locations at McCarran Airport, in downtown Las Vegas at the California Hotel and Casino, at the Town Square Mall, and in more limited selections at other casinos (for California residents, there's also a store at the Glendale Galleria). Mail order is also a brisk business for the company. On offer are a range of flavors are offered, including liqueurs, nuts, fruit flavor fillings (most unusual is the prickly pear cactus offering, something I haven't seen elsewhere; definitely an acquired taste), caramels, truffles, and solid chocolates. In all, there are about 30-40 varieties, though many are fairly similar (milk, dark, and white chocolate variations on several of the filling types). There are also chocolate bars (including old-style Mars bars, different than the kind you can buy in a regular store or that are imported from England), chocolate slot machine coins, and chocolate/caramel-covered apples, as well as a small selection of baked goods. Hot chocolate is also offered, though it hasn't always been available every time I've been there (seasonally, they may offer several flavor variations). The taste of all the chocolates is uniformly high-quality; they are best enjoyed fairly soon after purchase, but generally keep for at least 3 months. Prices are fairly high, but so is the quality, and the chocolates compare favorably with other local factories (such as See's in California, which has a similar though more expansive line). In terms of comparison with truly premium imported chocolate, this is more reasonable. Ethel M doesn't offer information on its chocolate sourcing or on organic/fair trade, so it occupies an upper-end but still factory/gift range rather than the very most costly craft chocolates. The factory also offers a tasting class (for adults, it can include wine) in a separate room. If you skip the class but want to have some of what you've purchased, there are a few places to sit down outside and eat (though it is not set up for meals). The other major highlight is the impressive cactus garden, one of the largest in North America. Taking a stroll through the garden is well worth your time, though the fact that the factory is under McCarran Airport's flight path means that you'll hear a fair number of aircraft. The garden gets very hot in the summer, so if the garden is a key reason for your visit, try to come early or near the end of factory hours (they won't run out of chocolate). Arguably the best (albeit busiest) time to come is during the Christmas holiday (November-December), where the garden is decorated with a massive light display, and child-focused activities like pictures with Santa are offered. Touring the garden and factory is free, as is parking, including during the holidays. Parking is usually easy, but during the Christmas festivities can be much tougher; look for available spaces in the industrial office park where the factory is located, and just be sure not to be blocking anyone in or in spots that are closed off. For touring the garden during the regular season, 15-20 minutes is sufficient; at Christmas, allow for at least 30-40 minutes due to crowds. For those visiting from The Strip, Henderson is an easy drive, and your trip here can be combined with the Clark County Museum, the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, or a visit to Sam's Town, all of which are reasonably close by. You can also swing by on your way to/from Boulder City and Hoover Dam if taking the 515. Don't be surprised if a stop here becomes a regular part of your Vegas vacations; I now always stock up so that I have chocolates for months afterwards to remember my trips!
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Date of experience: October 2019
Bri K wrote a review Aug 2020
Sycamore, Illinois33 contributions2 helpful votes
Worth the drive out of Las Vegas to this chocolate factory in the desert. Renewable energy is used to power the machines. So many flavors and a free sample! The chocolate peanut butter is the best!
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Date of experience: July 2020
Iris B wrote a review Mar 2020
83 contributions25 helpful votes
I went for the chocolates, but most enjoyed the cactus garden. A little bit outside of Las Vegas, is the Ethel M chocolate factory. Since I love chocolate, I had to go there for the factory tour. The tour is walking past the production line with comments about that stage on the windows. Not too much going on when we were there but they kept dumping the chocolates at the end of the line- why? Someone in the store told us that there was a problem with the stamping line and since it was solid chocolate, it would just get re-melted. The chocolates in the store are expensive, but they are very yummy. But the cactus garden really was outstanding. Take the time to go through it and see lots of different types of cacti and different plants. Free!!!
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Date of experience: March 2020
Pete A wrote a review Mar 2020
San Diego, California4 contributions1 helpful vote
This was an excellent “for all ages” experience. The grandkids and FIL learned how to be foodies. The tasting class was a fun experience and they learned some of the history of chocolate. If I planned better, the adults could have had wine tasting included. Afterwards, the 20% coupon in the chocolate store was a bonus. Lastly, for a visitor from California, the botanical garden provided excellent examples for water wise succulent gardening. This was my second trip in 20 years to Ethel M and it was even better the second time. I highly recommend the tastings. The free tour and gardens are great, but the tastings make the experience even better.
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Date of experience: March 2020
karol452 wrote a review Feb 2020
Edmonton, Canada914 contributions202 helpful votes
Ethel M is in Henderson. Well worth the trip. They do offer samples. They also offer tastings such as wine pairings and chocolate and a premiun tasting experience. These tastings are an extra charge. If you go during the week you can see the people in the factory working. The chocolate here is very good. Outside is the cactus garden where you can walk around. During November and December the cactus garden is lit up with lights. The admission is free to the cactus garden and the factory.
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Date of experience: February 2020
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