Monday, December 23, 2013

Chocolate Found in Las Vegas

The first full week of December your Chocolate Priestess headed to Las Vegas Nevada with her partner of 14 years.  We wanted to do this on our 10th anniversary but with my changes in career and the economy we had to wait. Finally we had enough money from royalties on a book we co-authored to do Vegas in our version of "style" -- we aren't luxury folks, we don't do unnecessary flash usually but while we were there we kept our eyes out for Chocolate.  I'd like to share what we found.

The first evening we found the 4-story M and M headquarters in Las Vegas located on the Strip itself on the eastern side near Planet Hollywood Resort.  Near, of course, means something different in Las Vegas where there is a lot of walking or a lot of paying for Monorail (still a lot of walking) or buses (still walking) or taxis (still walking since they can't stop along the strip it seems).  We had a coupon and so we each got a pound of M&Ms plus a bag for my husband of raspberry ones.  They had a huge wall of dispensers of more types of the candies than I knew they had.  They also had a 3D short film about the M&Ms in Las Vegas that was fun but definitely geared toward kids.  There's your Chocolate Priestess with our bag of goodies next to the sign to tell you what is on each floor.

Day two we found the Sugar Factory at the MGM Grand Resort after we did the CSI Experience and the CBS Television viewing/survey.  I had a special coupon for buy one, get one free so I had a lot of fun picking out small chocolates from the allowed displays.  There were many other Sugar Factory shops we found but this was the largest (and where the coupon worked).  They also had a back case of gourmet chocolates you could buy as well as a ton of non-chocolate candies. There's me to the left with their Christmas tree by the candies you could chose from for the coupon.

Day three we went to the center of the Strip to Caesar's Palace and we several chocolate stops on this day.  In the shops area of Caesar's Palace which is made to look like a Roman city we found Max Brenner's restaurant and chocolate Bar.  The manager talked to me and let us wander the two floors to take photos as well as their little shop inside.  I bought a tin of their truffles.  Wish we'd had time to stop and check out the menu more but we had to keep moving.

At the Bellagio Resort we found Jean Philippe Patisserie that has the world's largest chocolate Fountain. The photo is of the top that you can see from the floor of the very tiny shop it was in.  The shop also sold chocolates, cakes, and sandwiches but was very crowded even on a Friday winter afternoon.  I can't imagine sitting there trying to enjoy what we bought which was a small round box of 5 truffles.

At the Venetian Resort we found two chocolate stops -- one was Nectar which has soaps made to look like food items most of them desserts and a lot of them chocolate -- great way to indulge your nose without your tummy getting more calories.  The other was a small shop called La Sugarie that looked wonderful but we were in such a rush I didn't have time to even select some to buy which made me very sad.

Every buffet and most of the restaurants we went to have something chocolate unless it was more of the food court variety that we only did twice during our stay when we were only a bit hungry and really tired.  Of these, the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar's Palace really stood out for variety and quality to me.  Here in this photo is a corner shot of their dessert section that is an entire square of space about the size of our entire front room I think.  They had handmade pastries and gelato there and the five varieties I tried including my first Moshi were great.  The Mirage's Cravings Buffet was second best in terms of chocolate but we certainly didn't try every buffet there; that would have taken a good month!

Back at Excalibur we stopped at LICK, a candy shop that has some chocolates they have exclusively made for them along with a range of other candies.  Not as large as the Sugar Factory but LICK was also almost everywhere we looked so you can't miss it.

The last chocolate place we found we had to search for and it was originally part of our planned tour of the Hoover Dam -- the Ethel M. Chocolates Factory. Some repeated misinformation on behalf of the hotel we were staying at and we missed our tour so we had to take a taxi out to the factory so we at least got a few things done.  Honestly not worth the special effort for while it was informative it more of a "made up" tour of their facilities than a tour of the facilities themselves that are HUGE so you only get to see a few things made -- molded chocolates and DOVE Valentine's Day boxes it turned out while we were there.

I'll talk more about the last restaurant I found chocolate at, Wolfgang Puck's Bar and Grill in the MGM Grand, later because they gave us a free dessert for our Anniversary and I'm counting the chocolate one for that so you'll see that post on February 28, 2014, on "National Chocolate Soufflé Day."

There is a lot of candy and chocolate to be found in Las Vegas and given the amount of walking you should do unless you spend all your time in the casino, you shouldn't feel guilty about indulging.  I lost 60 pounds so far this year and gained 0 back during our trip but also didn't chow down on the chocolates I bought right away, I'm still enjoying them slower in Moderation.  If any of the other shops had offered us samples to write about I could have included a lot more photos in a featured article but for now you'll have to let us know if you've stopped at any of these shops, found others, and what you thought of them please.

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