Visiting the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden

     The Ethel M chocolate factory has been located in Henderson, Nevada since the brand's start in 1981.  I remember being in elementary school and taking a field trip to check out their factory tour and bringing home some delicious goodies.  The current factory tour is self guided - giving the opportunity to read information and look inside the factory at a comfortable pace - complete with chocolate tasting at the end.

They even use some of the original equipment!
     The property that houses the factory and retail store also contains a cactus garden and solar power garden.  For the winter season, the cactus garden was decorated with LED holiday lights.  The solar power harvested during the day can support factory production.  

This looks crazier than it was.

     I was able to take the factory tour and visit the holiday cactus garden last month.  I was even able to meet Santa Claus!  

     While not certified Fair Trade, Ethel M chocolates place an importance on fair principles.  Ethel M is owned by Mars Inc. but remains committed to producing in small batches, not using preservatives, and using quality ingredients.  They also place importance on the source of those ingredients: 

     The store also sells "myCocoaPaper" items - paper products made partially from cocoa tree bark.  The myCocoaPaper brand closed it's doors but has been re-branded and can be found at the CocoaVia (also owned by Mars Inc.) website.

     I left with a custom picked box of some of my favorite treats. 

     The holiday light display has ended for the season but the cactus garden and factory tour are available daily.  For more information, check the Ethel M website.