|The wall o' candies at M&M's World!|
Ethel M's Chocolate Factory. Located away from the Strip, in nearby Henderson, NV, this factory was started by Forrest Mars Sr. and named for his mother, Ethel. As all good chocolate lovers know, Mars is the company responsible for bringing us a wealth of tasty treats, including Mars Bars, Snickers, Dove and...M&M's!
The factory offers free tours (and free samples!) every day of the week. Due to their 'small-batch' philosophy, I've visited twice and never seen the machines in operation, but it's still worth a visit. The whole factory smells wonderfully of chocolate and the quality of their product is great. The site is also home to the Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden, which boasts the one of Nevada's largest collections of cacti, with over 300 species of plants. There are paved paths meandering through the garden and the plants are labeled, with a bit of history and information for the amateur botanist. It's surprisingly entertaining and I think Matt and I spent more time with the cacti than we did in the factory!
Max Brenner at the Forum Shops: This is truly a chocolate lover's paradise. I didn't have the chance to visit when we were in Vegas, and it's an omission I strongly regret. I could smell the rich, chocolaty aroma emanating from this shop long before I spotted the source, and I spent a few moments out front just enjoying it...and wishing I was inside! The Max Brenner website is full of heady descriptions of 'the new chocolate culture' (which was a bit much for me), but the basic premise is to enjoy chocolate in all its forms, and to use it in unusual and unexpected ways - I can support that!
The shop has a retail element, but also serves 'real' food and a wide variety of chocolate-infused offerings at the 'Chocolate Bar.' While this 'bar' is hailed as something new and revolutionary in our experience of chocolate, it seems similar to the fashionable chocolate houses of 17th and 18th Century Europe. Like Max Brenner, which sells the specially-shaped 'Hug Mug' for the perfect enjoyment of drinking chocolate, these establishments came with all sorts manners, customs and paraphernalia dedicated to the consumption of chocolate. Although much has changed about chocolate consumption since the 1700s, we have these chocolate houses to thank for it's continued popularity. Whether Max Brenner's legacy will be as enduring remains to be seen.
my sad encounter with the famous Thomas Keller Oreo (TKO), but I'm willing to bet some of their other offerings are delicious! I've heard great things about their Nutter Butter cookies....
Sugar Factory restaurant at the Paris Hotel and Casino.
Yogurtland at the Town Square Mall: From the star-studded to a street favorite. The self-serve frozen yogurt craze was just taking off when I left the States for Germany, in 2009, and I'm amazed at the number of locations that have cropped up since then. There seems to be one on almost every corner, and Las Vegas is no exception. There are several tucked away in casinos on the Strip, but Matt and I chose this location because it's the cheapest Fro-yo in Las Vegas. At just 37 cents/ounce, this store easily beats the Venetian (55 cents), the Fashion Show Mall (49 cents) and Mandalay Place (49 cents). It also seems to have the broadest selection - a win-win! It's a bit of a drive from the Strip, but a solid choice if you're looking to get away and satisfy your sweet tooth away from all the crazy crowds.
|Vegas is Sweet!|