Wednesday February 21st, 2024
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Arkan Plaza’s Mōko Chocolates is What Sweet Dreams are Made of

Step aside Willy Wonka, there’s a new chocolate factory in town.

Ziyad El-Helbawy

While you may not find Oompa Loompas or traumatised children at Arkan Plaza’s Mōko Chocolates, what you’ll otherwise find is perhaps no different from the fantastical confectionary dreams gazed upon in any rendition of ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.’ Having opened its doors in September 2021, Mōko Chocolates offers patrons an imagination-piquing selection of handcrafted confections that give even Wonka himself a run for his money. Behind the store’s glistening façade lies a gleeful gala of sweet sights, scents and tastes sure to stir even the deepest chocolate daydreams.

From artisanal chocolates featuring unique and unconventional flavours like tahini and wasabi to gelato sticks dipped in various chocolates and adorned with myriad toppings, and a pastry selection including banoffee, éclairs, choux, millefeuille, and tiramisu, each sweet treat at Mōko is a love letter to chocolate.

“You know everyone loves chocolate, but my love for chocolate comes from the genuine happiness it gives me,” Mōko Chocolates founder Mahmoud Barakat tells SceneEats.  Born and raised in Egypt, Barakat developed a passion for chocolate at a young age, which led him to establish Mōko upon returning from his studies abroad in Canada.

But Mōko's charms extend well beyond what meets the eye. "The way we do things is what makes us different," Barakat says. "We're really focused on being a happy brand, a brand that elicits joy. We're colourful, we're flavorful." This sensibility comes through in unique crunch creations and specialty dragée, plus rotating seasonal offerings that keep customers eagerly returning - Christmas is coming up, wink wink.

Cookie gelato sandwiches, Lotus cheesecake gelato cakes, and white muesli chocolate balls in tow, Mōko offers classic treats with a twist, but it is perhaps their most innovative flavours that have become a hallmark of the Mōko identity. "We really push boundaries,” Barakat says. “We have tahini-flavoured chocolate and wasabi-flavoured chocolate. A completely different flavour profile than anyone else." 

Mōko Chocolates traces its roots to a familial legacy and a serendipitous realisation. The journey began within the cocoon of Barakat’s grandmother's factory, operating under the name Meringo, where oriental sweets, bread, and kahk were crafted. As serendipity would have it, the foray into chocolate products proved successful, laying the foundation for Mōko Chocolates. "We made a few chocolate products and they performed well, and we realised we were on to something, and that’s how Mōko’s first steps began," Barakat shares.

The brand's name, a nod to familial superstitions and some timeless advice from Nike founder Phil Knight’s memoir, carries the fortunate 'M' legacy, a letter that has served the family well, while its colourful and flavorful identity pays homage to a vibrant, joyous approach to the chocolate-making craft.

And if perhaps a certain laziness outweighs your chocolate-y cravings, Mōko Chocolate’s entire menu is available for instant delivery on the Botit app in Sheikh Zayed.