Ethel M Chocolates will mark its 40th anniversary in 2021, and the Nevada-based craft chocolate division of Mars is celebrating early with a packaging makeover and a newly designed truffle formula.

Set to hit shelves in-store and online on Sept. 5, the reimagined packaging pays homage to the color palettes of the Mojave Desert, where Ethel M calls home. Each chocolate box represents either the warm hues of natural rock formations and desert sky or the cool tones of desert blooms and cacti. The complementing colored satin ribbons carry a copper charm sealed with Ethel M’s' monogram.

Ethel M’s truffle transformation begins with the center composition. Each piece is made using the traditional chocolate ganache method, which blends the company’s signature tempered chocolate with cream and a touch of butter for a silky-smooth finish. 

The truffles are shell-molded, a process in which a thin shell is created to provide a balance of chocolate and ganache. They are then finished off with a colored cocoa butter spray and wrapped up in the new crème toned packaging.

Forrest Mars Sr. launched Ethel M Chocolates in Henderson, Nevada in 1981, inspired by the fresh, small-batch chocolates his mother, Ethel, made in her own kitchen. While known for its satin crèmes and crème liqueurs, hand-made, preservative-free chocolates aren’t Ethel M’s only draw. The company also developed a 3-acre cactus garden — Nevada’s largest — on its grounds, attracting visitors to observe its more than 300 unique species and to take part in annual Christmas lighting ceremonies.