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What is a Chocolate Fountain?

Dark chocolate can be used in a chocolate fountain.
A high percentage of cocoa butter is needed for a chocolate fountain.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2014
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A chocolate fountain may sound like something straight out of Willy Wonka, but those who have attended wedding receptions or other catered affairs may have already encountered one. A traditional chocolate fountain combines the chocolate-warming properties of a fondue pot and the cascading effect of a champagne fountain. Constructed of stainless steel, a chocolate fountain is usually rented out for special occasions by party supply shops or professional catering services. Guests are usually offered a variety of bite-sized fruits, marshmallows, cheesecakes and other treats suitable for chocolate fondue.

The chocolate used in a chocolate fountain must have a high cocoa butter content for best results. The variety of choice is usually a Belgian-style chocolate called couverture, also used to form the outer shell of pralines. Other chocolates can be used in a chocolate fountain, but additional oil may have to be incorporated to create a proper flow. Prepared chocolate morsels are placed in a warming pot located in the base of the chocolate fountain. Once they have melted completely, a vertical auger draws the heated chocolate to the top of the fountain. Electrical pumps used for drawing liquids to the top of a champagne fountain would not work well in a chocolate fountain.

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As the chocolate begins to flow over the cone-shaped top, it may pool in a small tray and then overflow in a sheet to the next tray. Once the chocolate reaches the bottom, it is reheated and drawn back up to the top. Guests skewer their preferred treats on toothpicks and carefully hold them in the chocolate fountain. Quite often a professional caterer will designate an assistant to monitor the chocolate fountain to insure a proper flow and to prevent abuse by younger guests.

Catering companies may charge party planners an hourly rate for the use of a chocolate fountain. This price should include the wages of the attendant and the amount of chocolate used. For this reason, many hosts will opt to use a chocolate fountain only during the appetizer or dessert hours. In general, a chocolate fountain may only operate for two hours at most. Outdoor use is strongly discouraged, since insects and animals are often attracted to the fragrance of chocolate.

Home versions of a chocolate fountain have become very popular in recent years. These models are generally much smaller than their commercial counterparts, but they perform well for small gatherings. The special chocolate mixture required for a chocolate fountain can be ordered online or through wedding supply shops or specialty candy stores.

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pollick
Post 4

I'd say the debate between buying and renting a chocolate fountain comes down to usage. Someone who routinely entertains large groups of people could probably benefit from buying a chocolate fountain system and avoiding the hassle of visiting a rental store, considering the added expenses of deposits and supplies.

I have seen small chocolate fountains, along with the proper chocolate mixture, on sale in the wedding supply section of hobby stores such as Michael's or Hobby Lobby. Specialty stores such as Williams-Sonoma also carry chocolate fountains, and I've even seen them at Target.

musicshaman
Post 3

Nice article! I do have a quick question though -- is it better to buy a chocolate fountain or to rent one?

My wife and I throw a few big parties every year (you know, for Christmas, New Years, that kind of thing), and for the past few years we've been renting a chocolate fountain for our events, since its such a hit with guests.

However, after renting for so long, we're kind of wondering if it might be better to just invest in a chocolate fondue fountain of our own. Do you think this is a good idea? And if so, do you know where I could find a chocolate fountain for sale?

Thanks.

googlefanz
Post 2

I love chocolate fountains at weddings! I think that renting a chocolate fountain really adds such a degree of class to the whole thing, provided of course that you can keep the kids away from it!

One thing that many people forget though is that there are a lot of different things that you can do with a chocolate fountain. I cater to wedding occasionally, and it's surprising how many people are unaware that there is more than one chocolate fountain recipe out there!

So if you want the chocolate fountain but would like to mix it up a little bit, then why not try a different recipe? You could try a white chocolate fountain, or even get one that has a chocolate/liqueur mix.

So consult with your caterer or renter, and use your imagination! You'd be surprised what you can do with those things.

CopperPipe
Post 1

Hi -- I have a quick question. I want to rent a chocolate fountain for my wedding, but I really don't know how to go about it. First, I don't know what size I should get. (I'm assuming there are different sizes of these things?)

I am looking at having about 150 guests at the wedding, so what size of fountain should I get for that?

Also, will I be expected to provide my own chocolate fountain fondue mix, or does the chocolate fountain rental company provide that?

Finally, is there a certain brand of chocolate fountain that is particularly good? I had seen a review for the Rival chocolate fountain that looked pretty good, but I would like to learn more about this before I request one.

Can anybody help me out?

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