Meet the woman behind Dubai’s viral super-chunky chocolate bar

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On TikTok, gooey, crunchy, loaded chocolate bars are going viral.

Bursting with unusual fillings such as filo pastry, vanilla custard, or tea and biscuits, these chunky chocolate bars originate from Fix Dessert Chocolatier.

“We take a lot of time and effort, and put a lot of love into our bars,” says Sarah Hamouda, founder of Fix. It’s not just a chocolate bar, she says: “We want to create an experience.”

The 38-year-old, who has been Dubai-based for nine years, launched the brand in 2021 as a side hustle. Inspired by her pregnancy cravings, the British Egyptian entrepreneur set out to create something more than the “typical” chocolate fix.

And it’s proven hugely popular: a now-viral ASMR video of TikTok food influencer Maria Vehera eating a bar in her car has been viewed more than 56 million times to date, and hundreds of people have since filmed their own reactions to the bars, or created recipe guides trying to replicate it at home

The buzz around the brand has been “unreal,” says Hamouda, adding that Fix’s daily orders went from single digits to 500.

“To be honest, not at any point did I think this was going to become global,” says Hamouda, adding that she’s had messages and video responses from people from Canada to Argentina to Romania. “It’s insane what’s been happening.”

Sarah Hamouda (left), pictured with her husband and daughter, founded Fix in 2021. - FIX Dessert Chocolatier
Sarah Hamouda (left), pictured with her husband and daughter, founded Fix in 2021. - FIX Dessert Chocolatier

Choc-full of flavor

As the bars are handmade — including colorful designs painted on each one — there’s a limit to how much the team can produce.

“For me, it’s really important (to maintain) the quality and the ingredients of our products,” she says, adding that the secret to her bars is the signature mold she uses to shape the chocolate and pack in the filling.

Part of the appeal of Fix’s bars is the creative names, which Hamouda’s husband comes up with, and the uniquely Middle Eastern flavors, like dates, karak (a spiced tea blend), and knafeh, a traditional Arabic dessert made with shredded pastry, pistachios, sweet soft cheese, and syrup.

Dubai’s international, expat-heavy population inspired some of the flavors, too, such as “Mind your own Buiscoff,” a white chocolate bar packed with crunchy Lotus cheesecake spread, or “Cereously Chewsy,” a slab of milk chocolate stuffed with Nutella fudge brownies, custard and cereal.

A choco-lot of demand

FIX — which stands for “freaking incredible experience” — is currently only available in Dubai. And with international attention, that’s become a big problem.

“Keeping up with the demand has definitely been a challenge,” Hamouda says.

Since the video began trending in February this year, the company has scaled up, from just Hamouda and her husband operating out of their home to a team of 10 in a rented kitchen.

The 200-gram chocolate bars, which retail for $20 each, are only available through food delivery service Deliveroo, with sales going live at 5pm daily. Capped at 500 orders each day, Hamouda says they usually sell out within minutes.

While this might be an enviable problem, Hamouda says there has been backlash online, with customers complaining about the scarcity of the bars and criticizing the hype as a marketing ploy.

Decorated with edible paint, Fix’s chocolate bars look almost too good to eat. Almost. - CNN
Decorated with edible paint, Fix’s chocolate bars look almost too good to eat. Almost. - CNN

The shortage has led to many candy bars inspired by “Dubai’s viral chocolate” hitting online retail platforms, and home chefs are giving it a go themselves. While some might worry about the competition, Hamouda is flattered. “We get messages from people saying, ‘thank you for inspiring us to be creative at home,’ so that’s something that I’m proud of,” she says.

Fan’s desperation to try the unusual flavors and textures has led to a “chocolate black market” with the bars showing up in South Africa at exorbitant prices.

Hamouda is awed by the response — and hints that Fix will be making its way to international markets very soon. “We have a lot in the pipeline,” she says. “Every trend has its moment. But I think we have so much more to give and I think this is just the beginning for us.”

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