If you’ve tasted Meg Maggie Margaret Artisan Chocolates, you absolutely remember them and perhaps even crave them during their annual summer hiatus. For lovers of very small-batch chocolate confections, there’s no more important one-woman shop in town. There’s no dedicated retail shop, but these chocolates have been spotted at seemingly disconnected locations: after a workout at Cappy’s Boxing Gym; at a special occasion at Lark; at opening night of a new show for Strawberry Theatre Workshop; or heaped at pop-up shops hosted by Bar del Corso, The Dane or Southpaw Pizza.
Those locations don’t feel quite as random once you meet the woman behind the chocolates and understand how the company came to be.
Margaret Savas says the name of her business refers to the “three versions of me.”
“As unlikely as it is to have these three very different vocations, they all feed different aspects of me,” says Savas, whose personal passions are very much tied into the story of her chocolates.
This triple threat of a boxer, chocolatier and theatrical performer was born and raised in Seattle and Aberdeen, and earned a theater degree from Western Washington University. After touring with a puppet-theater company after college, Savas returned to Seattle to work at Fran’s Chocolates, where her role grew from packaging and dipping to flavor development and managing the chocolate department. While up to her elbows in all that chocolate — not literally, although a girl can dream — she started boxing at Cappy’s, and that grew from a hobby to a full-time coaching job.
While coaching at Cappy’s, Savas met John Sundstrom, chef/owner of Lark, Southpaw Pizza — he’s a southpaw boxer, by the way — and Slab Sandwiches + Pie.
In 2015, Savas started renting seasonal kitchen space at Southpaw Pizza, but continues to coach at Cappy’s — which she calls her “rewarding ‘main’ job.”
Sundstrom and Savas’ relationship extends beyond the typical landlord/tenant agreement. They collaborate a few times a year, with Savas making gift boxes for New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s dinners at Sundstrom’s restaurants. She’s also made Holy Mountain stout truffles and Cloudburst IPA truffles for beer dinners he’s hosted in partnership with the breweries.
Savas says that most of Meg Maggie Margaret Artisan Chocolates’ initial production was for fundraisers like theater benefits and her young relatives’ school auctions, and that desire to give back is still key.
“It’s definitely a way for me to contribute more to a cause than just writing a check,” Savas says. “I’ve been doing mostly benefit pop-ups for Valentine’s, Easter and Mother’s Day, and December’s sales build up the coffers so I can do more benefits.”
The type of benefit varies. Sales last May benefited Cancer Pathways (formerly Gilda’s Club Seattle), but in the same month, Savas contributed a massive gift basket to the first big event hosted by Bowl-a-Noma, which funds research into a cure for melanoma.
Michelle Johnson, director of development for the feminist advocacy nonprofit Legal Voice, met Savas at Cappy’s, and worked with her on a monthlong fundraiser last February.
“Margaret is a badass feminist and wanted to support the work that we do,” Johnson said. “Her fundraisers have been super beneficial for us — she’s very generous, and our community really likes chocolate.”
While Savas’ confections company is one of the smallest in town, it’s also one of the most interesting.
Molded chocolate shapes vary according to the season, but there are four consistent flavors year-round: pepperberry (white chocolate with pink peppercorns, dried strawberries and lemon-zest salt), bittersweet brittle bit (peanut-brittle bits in dark chocolate), milk-chocolate lemon (crystallized lemon, lemon oil and lemon-zest salt in milk chocolate) and her current favorite (and mine): malt crisp (caramelized white chocolate with bits of crispy malt meringue). It might sound sweet, but the flavor is like buttered toast that’s been brushed with very smooth bourbon. Classic peppermint patties and peanut butter almost-not-quite truffles are regulars, also with shapes that vary by season.
There are also two small and wonderfully satisfying candy bars. The first is a Mocha Bar with espresso caramel, mocha nougat, dark chocolate and espresso salt. The second is (thus far) only available for the December holiday season, and it’s a marvel known as the One-Two Crunch, with an outstanding coconut-milk caramel, peanuts and crispy rice. There’s also a box of assorted flavors that changes according to season and year. Past years have included treats like whiskey truffles, vanilla caramels, raspberry truffles and honeycrisp-cider caramels. For Easter, the assortment is magically enclosed in a smashable chocolate egg instead of a box.
The chocolate Savas uses is sourced from TCHO, in San Francisco. Its flavors are on the fudgy/toasty side of chocolate rather than bright/fruity. But Savas says the company’s ethical sourcing is the main reason she uses them. The chocolate industry has had serious ethical issues for decades, and unlike many chocolate brands, TCHO’s practices include sourcing directly from specific cacao farms, investing in those farms’ infrastructure and creating mobile “flavor labs” so the farmers get to see chocolate making from start to finish and taste the chocolate they grow in bar form — a first for many of them.
Meg Maggie Margaret Artisan Chocolates is a seasonal business, running from mid-fall to mid-May, in part because chocolate is extremely susceptible to temperature, and rented kitchen space and pop-up shops don’t allow for much climate control. So, while she enjoys filling special orders, know that your mid-August wedding isn’t likely to be a good fit. However, if you need almond-butter hearts for Valentine’s Day, a giant chocolate Santa, or a treat-filled Easter egg to smash that’s large enough for the office team, she’s game.
“If I’m able to do it, I’ll do it!” Savas says, adding the caveat, “The more notice the better, though.”
Meg Maggie Margaret Artisan Chocolates
Find the pop-up and benefit schedule at facebook.com/MegMaggieMargaret. Holiday events include “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” a benefit for Strawberry Theatre Workshop. On Dec. 15, Savas will be at Mercatini di Natale at Bar del Corso; chocolates will be available the same day at a makers market sponsored by the Field Trip Society, held at Southpaw Pizza. To connect with Savas about special orders or current availability, email firstname.lastname@example.org.