For Michelle Anton, "the kitchen is the heart and soul of a house." As a child, Anton's dearest memories resided in the kitchen, alongside her mother and grandmother. The familiar flavors of her past stuck sweetly with the Maine native, who moved to the Queen City five years ago and decided to open a haven for sweets just outside of Charlotte. Anton and her mother are the proud proprietors, bakers and confectioners of Miss M's Sweets (5405 Village Drive NW, Concord; www.missmssweets.com). "I feel there are two different types of chocolate shops," says Anton. "One is geared toward the kids, like a Willy Wonka. Then there are places that are for both the adults and kids. With Miss M's, I wanted to have a fun yet homey feel that both adults and kids can enjoy, a place where a person's day could get brighter and a bit sweeter."
Creative Loafing: What's your favorite filling or flavor to hide inside of a piece of chocolate? Do you ever re-invent your chocolate inventory?
Michelle Anton: I don't use a lot of crazy flavors. I like the main focus to be on the chocolate or the filling. Take our maple crèmes; we make a crème with Maine maple syrup and dip them in milk chocolate. It's just simple and yummy.
We're always trying new flavors. This summer, we introduced milk chocolate marshmallows, dark chocolate sea salt caramels and a key lime and lemon truffle. All have been a huge hit. For the holidays, we will have pumpkin pie truffle, peppermint bark, pumpkin whoopie pies, and our always popular hand-rolled candy canes in eight different flavors.
You have a variety of innovative chocolate designs. Do you use a template or create your designs yourself?
Some of our chocolates are produced in molds, but the majority are hand-cut and hand-dipped. It's very time-consuming, but so worth it in the end. There's nothing better than a handcrafted piece of chocolate, made with no preservatives or wax.
Which piece of candy do you and your mother snatch samples of throughout the day?
Depends on the day for me. Lately, I've been addicted to the milk chocolate cashew clusters and sour gummy worms. Previously, I was on a milk chocolate cheesecake and dark cherry cordial kick. My mom has three favorites: dark raisin clusters, dark bourbon crèmes and dark orange peel. As you can see, she's a dark chocolate lover. And the go-to favorite for both of us is always a needham. Our needhams are made from fresh cracked coconut, which then goes into a creamy, homemade mixture being dipped in milk or dark chocolate. Truly a coconut lover's dream.