Monday, April 11, 2011

Las Vegas Chocolate Part 3 - Ethel M Chocolates' Raspberry-Filled Dark Chocolate Bar

Ethel M Chocolates is a localized chocolate factory and retailer, with eight locations in Las Vegas. It is owned by Mars, Inc. and was founded as a tribute to Ethel Mars by her son Forrest.  They make preservative-free chocolates using her original recipes from way back when she and her husband Frank Mars started making chocolate in 1911.

In a rare circumstance, I bought more chocolate from this retailer for friends and family than I bought for myself (admittedly, I am a little selfish when it comes to buying chocolate).  If I had gone to the 'factory tour' that Ethel M Chocolates has in Henderson, Nevada, I likely would have bought more for myself, but I only just saw one of their retail locations at the airport as I was leaving Las Vegas. So I could only justify spending money on gifts for other people, since my personal chocolate purchases in Vegas had already been so excessive.

For myself, I only bought one chocolate bar: a 39g (1.38 oz) Raspberry Dark Chocolate bar.  If you've read enough of my other blog posts, you'll know two things by now: (1) I can't resist tasting raspberry-flavoured chocolate bars and (2) I love single serving and portion-controlled chocolate bars. This bar had both, so I chose it over the other selections.  I think there was a mint chocolate bar and a few other flavours, but at first glance, I wasn't too sure about the ingredients lists of those other flavours.  The raspberry bar seemed to have the simplest and most natural ingredients, which was another reason why I chose it.

I wasn't impressed with the first taste. I bit into the outer layer of solid dark chocolate and could immediately taste the artificial flavour that had been used in the chocolate.  But as I ate it, I started to really appreciate the taste combination of the chocolate and raspberry cream in the middle.  Unlike the solid chocolate layer, the raspberry cream used all natural ingredients, including a white chocolate that was flavoured with vanilla beans. The raspberry was bitter and smooth, and little seeds got caught in my teeth.  As I've said before, if there are seeds left in your teeth, you don't need to look at the ingredients list to know that real raspberries were used to create the flavour.  And that's one extra point for Ethel M, as far as I'm concerned. By the time I finished two pieces (there were only three pieces to the bar), the flavours in my mouth were a perfect combination of raspberries and smooth dark chocolate. 

If I were to compare this to Godiva's raspberry-filled chocolate bar, I'd say that I preferred the size of this one, and the lack of glucose-fructose as found in the Godiva bar. The flavour is comparable. Be warned though: if you are lactose intolerant, have a milk sensitivity or are vegan, this "dark chocolate" bar is loaded with milk ingredients.

Unfortunately in the airport location of Ethel M, I did not see any of the Artisan Collection of single origin chocolate bars.  If you've read my blog before, you know that solid chocolate bars and particularly single origin bars, are the main focus of my chocolate tastings.  So it is unfortunate that I missed out on this opportunity. Perhaps, if I have some nice friends who are visiting Vegas in the future, they will bring some back for me.

Other things I wish I could have tasted:  the Peanut Butter Indulgence Bars (they are a gift for a friend, hopefully she will share!), the Milk Chocolate Collection ($25/box, also a gift) and the box of the Truffle Collection (also $25/box and a gift for relatives). All I can say is that the Truffle Collection received glowing reviews by the people who I bought it for.

So if you love chocolate and are planning to visit Las Vegas, check out Ethel M Chocolates and be sure to do the factory tour! For store locations, click here: http://www.ethelm.com/store_locator/default.aspx.  For more information about chocolate in Las Vegas, see my other Las Vegas Chocolate posts: Part 1 and Part 2, as well as a Sipping Sunday review of Jean Philippe Patisserie's hot chocolate products.

Here are the ingredients and package details from the chocolate bar that I tasted today:

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar (1.38 oz/39g)
Ethel M. Chocolates
Manufactured by Mars Chocolate North America (Henderson, NV)
http://www.ethelm.com/
Ingredients: Semisweet Chocolate (sugar, chocolate, chocolate processed with alkali, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavors), white chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, milk, lactose, soy lecithin, vanilla beans), raspberries, natural flavors.  May contain peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, eggs.

2 comments:

  1. My friend told me that the raspberry was bitter and smooth, and have little seeds. Like the ingredients!

    ReplyDelete
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