Chocolate fountains are one of the most requested features for wedding parties and other special events.
You’re having a party! Maybe it’s a Sweet Sixteen, or a wedding reception, or a family reunion. You’ll need to feed people of course, and during the discussions, someone suggests that you have a chocolate fountain. Now, there’s something to think about. After all, they look impressive, and well, it’s chocolate! Do you need any other reason to have one at your gathering?
A chocolate fountain is a mechanical fountain (like a water fountain) that allows melted chocolate to cascade down in a controlled manner over metal tiers (as a rule, larger chocolate fountains can support a greater number of tiers). This produces a showy “waterfall” effect, and better still, you and your guests get to eat the “waterfall” by dipping edibles into the chocolate stream. A chocolate fountain contains a heating element internally to keep the melted chocolate at a good “flow” temperature. Like a waterfall, the melted chocolate begins its journey in a bottom reservoir; it’s lifted internally up to the fountain top by a pump or auger mechanism. Once the melted chocolate flows down over the tiers, it returns to the bottom reservoir and starts the process all over again.
The chocolate fountain, when operating, looks like a three-tiered chocolate wedding cake (and it smells wonderful!!). The warm chocolate fondue cascades over the tiers creating a chocolate “waterfall” in which delicious treats like strawberries & marshmallows can be dipped.
Chocolate fountains are in big demand at:
Bridal & baby showers
and many other various functions!!
In fact, the chocolate fountain can be used at just about any event where you are looking to amaze guests, attract attention, or make a truly memorable impression.
There are many ways in which to display the chocolate fountain. Many people prefer the “look” of the fountain without draping material around it as a cover up. However, this is a common practice and looks very nice. The dipping items can also be presented to dramatically enhance the whole presentation. Here are a few options.
1. Tiers & Tablecloths: Arm yourself with two large tablecloths. The first is laid directly on the table. Put the fountain base on this foundation. Then create steps starting from the back of the fountain around each side to the front. The steps may be built with anything from boxes, in various sizes, to blocks of any type purchased at craft stores (or even telephone books!). The steps should be highest in the back gradually sloping down to the front. Dipping items in front of the fountain may be placed directly on the table surface. Once the steps have been situated, take the second tablecloth and cover the steps, creating a draping, flowing look. (The second cloth may be the same or a complimentary color.) Cloth napkins of another color may be used (again, the color is up to you or your client) and swirl them in the mix with the tablecloth. You will find these can be easily replaced throughout the course of the event in order to keep chocolate soiled linens to a minimum.
2. Twinkling white lights and Glass Blocks: We have many creative customers who use these tools. They simply set up the fountain on a tablecloth, keeping it loose to create folds. Then square glass blocks (purchased from home improvement stores) are placed in strategic places around the fountain. Twinkle lights are now entwined in the folds of the tablecloth. The dipping items, pre-arranged on ceramic or silver platters, are set on top of the glass blocks. Often times dipping items are put into glass bowls and placed on top of the silver trays. This arrangement is stunning, sparkly and beautiful!
3. Don’t Forget the Flowers: Flowers, fruit, foliage and assorted greenery are always a grand and gorgeous addition to the fountain table. Simple arrangements set on the table make a nice addition, as do greens weaved through the cloth with the twinkle lights. Display pre-skewered dipping items in decorated flowerpots and/or vases (lined with florist foam – to hold up the skewers). Arrange skewers in pots with dipping items up so they look like flowers on a stem (works well with marshmallows and cut strawberries!).
4. Use more than one chocolate fountain for a display the will be truly unforgettable!! Love the option of having multiple fountains with a different fondue in each one (imagine…milk chocolate in one, white in one and caramel in the other – WOW!!).
What about the chocolate?
Every manufacturer of chocolate fountains all warn of the same thing: do not expect that you can just pick up supermarket chocolate to use in your fountain! There are chocolates specially formulated for fountains, and those are recommended by some manufacturers; others insist you can use any good couverture (always follow instructions for the specific chocolate fountain you buy or rent). Couvertures (and chocolates specially formulated for fountains) differ from most other chocolate. Part of the difference is that they contain a greater percentage of fat, which may be cocoa butter or vegetable oil. That’s important, because chocolate, even melted, is too thick to work well in a fountain. Extra cocoa butter or vegetable oil thins the chocolate enough so it can be drawn up the internal chamber and cascade properly over the tiers. However, in my opinion, vegetable oil lowers the quality of the chocolate. Were I using a chocolate fountain for any purpose, I would try my best to use a chocolate with extra cocoa butter. You can melt your chocolate in the fountain if you wish, but it will probably take longer than you like; most sources advise melting the chocolate (in a microwave or double boiler) before putting it into the fountain.
If you’re wondering what to dip into your cascading melted chocolate, think about foods that pair well with chocolate fondue: marshmallows, all of the traditional fruits – apple slices, banana chunks, strawberries, pineapple chunks, etc., dried fruits, potato chips, Rice Krispie squares, caramels, cream puffs, grapes, small squares of fudge, orange segments, well, you get the idea, you can serve pretty much anything you’d like with it! You might also try cookies, graham cracker sections, pound cake cubes, or pretzels, but you need to be careful about crumbs. Crumbs or small bits of food can clog your chocolate fountain, so that the chocolate doesn’t flow properly. You can always provide small cups, which your guests can fill from the fountain, then dip any crumbly items into the cup.
Also fun is to have a set up of toppings. Little bowls of finely chopped nuts, coconut, smashed up candy canes, sprinkles, etc. It’s a fun little “extra” to have on hand. Try dipping a chunk of banana in chocolate, then in some coconut or peanuts! Yum!
Consider semi-sweet and milk chocolate, rich Belgian chocolate and chocolate creations featuring specialty flavors and colors.
Water is chocolate’s enemy. Be very careful to use a dry bowl, dry utensils, and to not allow any water to fall into your chocolate. Even a tiny drop of water causes melted chocolate to “seize”. For this reason, you should never use a lid when melting chocolate (condensation will occur, and drip in!), and you should always be careful when using a double boiler.
Liquid added to chocolate must be warm. Pretty basic rule – cold liquid added to melted chocolate will cause it to seize. Warm liquid will not – this is why it’s important to heat up the cream mixture before adding it to the chocolate.
Make a lasting impression on any occasion with a Chocolate Fondue Fountain! Your fountain can become the highlight of your celebration, and you’ll make sure your memories of that day are sweet ones.
Did you know that chocolate fountains can be used for more than just chocolate? How about a cascade of warm, melted caramel? For a savory twist, try a smooth salad dressing in your fountain, served with raw veggies. Chic, delicious, and it might even be cool enough to get the kids in the group to eat their vegetables! As a bonus, you’ll get some nutrition and fiber along with your calories. Try one out with your next party and watch the fun begin. http://www.whatsupcooks.com