Chocolatier In Afton Village Has Sweet Smell Of Success


Independent Tribune
Published: January 16, 2011

CONCORD, N.C. — The door of Miss M’s SWEETS in Afton Village swings open. The warm fragrant smell of chocolate blankets over any thoughts of diet, and just popping one piece of that creamy chocolate onto the tongue and allowing the warmth of the mouth melt it slowly, consumes any perceived notion of control.

Michelle Anton and her mother Paula Anton, originally from Maine, created a chocolate shop like the one that was such a huge part of their community back home.

Paula and her ex-husband had a fire, police and rescue business for 30 years in Maine. They built and sold equipment used by first responders.

Michelle grew up working with her parents almost 70 hours a week. She also worked part-time at the local chocolate shop to release stress.

“It almost became a full-time, night time position. I ended up being the night time supervisor,” Michelle said. “It was very similar to us here, but they have been in business for 67 years now. It was just something I loved.“

She always dreamed of buying that chocolate business, because it was such a happy place.

“People always came in with a smile and left with a smile,” she said.

Mother and daughter moved to Concord five years ago. They had never lived anywhere else but Maine.

“I had a niece who keep saying, ‘Aunt Paula, you have to come down here; it’s just like Maine, but without the snow,’” Paula said.

Once they relocated to the area, Michelle worked as an accountant and Paula retired.

The accountant life very quickly grew old for Michelle. She missed the interaction with people. About a year ago, she made the decision to pursue her fantasy chocolate shop.

“She is a workaholic. They could never keep her busy enough, and she likes a challenge,” Paula said.

The two haven’t been able to find the high quality chocolate they had grown accustomed to back home.

They decided to create it themselves.

“I’m a dark chocolate lover, and let me tell you, I don’t like bittersweet and I don’t like chocolate you have to chew,” Paula said. “I don’t like it cold. I want it melting in your mouth and I want it to be sweet, not bitter.”

Using the same chocolate that they loved back in Maine, the two create beautiful pieces of candy, small works of culinary art, fresh.

Michelle special orders the base chocolate, and no one else in the area uses the same supplier.

They come in 10-pound blocks to be melted down and used in recipes.

“That chocolate shop she worked at for all those years kept the same quality of chocolate,” Paula said.

The creaminess of the chocolate is what makes it special, the women said.

“It melts in your mouth, nice and rich,” Paula said.

A lot of chocolates have a waxy texture, but good quality chocolate is creamy, she explained.

Michelle has expanded on recipes from the Maine chocolate shop, and uses the same chocolate supplier.

“Chocolate is like coffee,” Paula said. “There are so many different variations.“

He former employers in Maine have been very supportive of her new venture.

“They allowed me to use the recipes. You play with it, trial and error. This sounds good together so you play with it. If it doesn’t come out right after four or five batches, I don’t use it,” Michelle said.

Only small batches are prepared of any item in the store so that the treats are always fresh.

The store has mostly homemade items including Paula’s brownies and Michelle’s triple chocolate cookies. Moonstruck Chocolatier out of PortlandOre. supplies the truffles.

The company combines their chocolate with fresh flavors. They hand-decorate each piece with intricate care. They are creative pieces that have rich creamy and sometimes unusual flavors.

“They use no preservatives. They don’t make anything until I order it,” Michelle said. “So I know it hasn’t been sitting on a shelf somewhere.“

For Valentines Day, they plan to sell chocolate dipped strawberries by the pound, made fresh on the day of the scheduled pick up. Michele believes they get mushy when made ahead of time. The strawberries will be dipped in milk, dark or white chocolate.

Most chocolate lovers have found their way into the new store by word of mouth, and the Anton’s have been working together with the wine shop in Afton Village for special pairing events.

Giving back to the community is important to the women.

In October, they raised $600 for breast cancer through an event called “Chocolate for a Cure.

“We have been really blessed,” Paula said.

For more information on Miss M’s SWEETS, visit

Contact reporter Robin L. Gardner: 704-789-9140