Chocolate fountains – turn your home into a chocolate paradise
Tips and tricks for extravagant chocolate experiences
17 December 2018
Warm chocolate flows down in bubbling cascades, all you need to do is reach out your hand and your biscuit is immediately drenched in liquid chocolate. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? But it is now a chocolatey reality in many hotels, restaurants and even private homes. This wondrous machine, which has been fascinating the gourmet world for almost 30 years, is known as a chocolate fountain. Nowadays there are lots of different versions available – from luxury fountains to cheaper options. What do you need to consider when buying a chocolate fountain and how do they actually work? Read on for our best tips about the great chocolatey treat.
The world’s first chocolate fountain was presented in Cologne in 1989. It can still be seen to this day in the city’s Chocolate Museum and it still works! Two years later, a Canadian company developed a chocolate fountain for the restaurant industry – but its road to success was a long one. Slowly, more and more people became fascinated with the liquid chocolate, which could be used to improve all manner of desserts. Since 2004, chocolate fountains have been available to buy for your own home. In other news, the largest chocolate fountain in the world is located in – well, where else?! – Las Vegas.
The principle behind chocolate fountains is always the same and their design is as simple as it is ingenious. A basin of warm, liquid chocolate stands in the centre. It houses a cylinder with an Archimedes screw, which pumps the chocolate up the cylinder. The chocolate then travels up the cylinder and flows out of holes in the side, before running down over several plates in cascade fashion and then returning to the basin, where the whole process begins again. The consistency of the chocolate creates almost cylindrical curtains, which you can dip fruit, pastries and more in.
Top tips for buying and using a chocolate fountain
Chocolate fountains are not all the same. There are a number of different devices to choose from, depending on your requirements. If you just want to try the liquid delight or are celebrating with some friends, a small, cheap device would probably be sufficient. But be aware that the materials used will probably not be all that robust. The cheap versions often feature plastic elements which can be quite hard to clean. They tend to be very basic in terms of features too; they might not even melt the chocolate. This means you need to pre-melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and then fill the fountain with liquid chocolate. Otherwise it won’t work. Do you regularly host big parties with buffets? Then you might be more suited to a higher priced model made of stainless steel – a material that doesn’t rust and doesn’t affect the flavour of the chocolate. You can get models in various sizes and with a varying number of cascades. These devices often come with a practical melting function. You simply add the solid chocolate. The separate motor turns itself off once the chocolate has melted and the fountain starts to work. To clean, simply remove the stainless-steel components and wash them in your dishwasher.
Whichever model you go for, always ask yourself the following questions before you make your purchase: How often will I use the chocolate fountain? How many people will be using it? What capacity does the fountain need to have? How noisy is the device? Will the noise impact my event, or will it not matter?
In any case, you should always check the device instructions. It is also important to use the correct amount of chocolate. The fountain won’t work correctly if you use too much or too little chocolate. Finally, the chocolate needs to be heated up to the right temperature. If the chocolate is too hot, there is a risk of burning, especially for children, and the consistency of the chocolate will also change, as the cocoa butter will start to separate. If the chocolate is too cold, it will get stuck in the device and stop the flow.
Ingredients and taste experience
Whether you opt for a premium model or a cheaper product – it is the chocolate itself that will determine the taste of the liquid chocolate. The fountain simply turns it into liquid and serves it to guests at a temperature of between 28 and 30°C. The chocolate is actually colder than body temperature and this may surprise you at first – people tend to expect warm or even hot chocolate. But that is not the point of the chocolate fountain.
Depending on what you like, you can create all sorts of different chocolate delights. And it all begins with the selection of the right chocolate. Whether dark, milk or white – pay attention to the amount of cocoa butter it contains. The proportion should be higher than in normal chocolate to ensure that the warm chocolate flows properly. High-quality cooking chocolates are ideal, as they tend to contain a higher proportion of cocoa butter. Dark cooking chocolate contains the highest proportion of cocoa butter. Our VIVANI Dark Cooking Chocolate is around 35 to 40% cocoa butter, for example. You often need to add vegetable fat to other types of cooking chocolate or normal chocolate. Cocoa butter is, of course, the best option here. Heat it up separately and simply add it to the chocolate fountain.
If you like to mix things up a bit, you can also add other ingredients to the chocolate, such as alcoholic drinks, juices, cream or spices. And when it comes to what you dip in the chocolate, you can really let your imagination run wild! You can dip all sorts of desserts and pastries – think biscuits, waffles, cakes, even ice cream! Fruit and fruit skewers are some of the classic options. If you are using fruit, make sure you dry it properly after washing it. If you like, you can decorate the dipped dessert with chocolate sprinkles, rasps and more. You can even cover savoury snacks in chocolate. Try things like pretzel sticks and baked pretzels.