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Chocolate Fountains for Everyone
“A chocolate fountain is a device for serving chocolate fondue. Typical examples resemble a stepped cone, standing 2-4 feet tall with multiple tiers over a basin at the bottom. Chocolate is melted by heat from below, then vertically transported to the top of the fountain by a corkscrew auger. From there it flows over the tiers creating a chocolate "waterfall" in which tidbits like strawberries or marshmallows can be dipped” So says the free online encyclopedia, wikipedia.
These devices are now so popular, that you don’t have to wait to be invited to a society wedding to enjoy the delicious cascades of silky, fragrant, warm chocolate. There are now plenty of models designed and available for home use, at reasonable cost, so you can stun your friends and your partner’s boss next time you have a dinner party. One thing is guaranteed -- it is simply not possible to have a boring dinner party when you have a chocolate fountain. It provides a great topic for conversation, especially if you need to ‘break the ice’ with new friends.
Guests select which tasty morsel they wish to coat in the warm chocolate. These can include marshmallows, pieces of banana, cherries, strawberries, and almost any fruit you can imagine. Dried fruit works well, particularly the fat juicy dates that come from the Middle East. Avoid sloppy or flakey items to dip, as they may contaminate the puddles of chocolate.
I once attended a minor Royal wedding in England where a huge chocolate fountain of almost six feet tall was in operation. The catering company had also provided an attendant, to assist those unfamiliar with the dipping process and the general chocolate fountain procedure. Indeed, the attendant would take over the dipping for those guests who wished it, handing them back a plate with three or four choice fruits skewered on toothpicks, coated in the glossy warm liquid.
But from my observations, the main duty of the chocolate fountain attendant was to swat pesky kids away from the fountain. In the end, a well meaning older lady intervened, suggested to the attendant, that instead of swatting the swarming kids away, it may possibly be better, and more acceptable to the child friendly family who were throwing the party, to provide the little darlings with a tiny cup half full with the melted chocolate. This plus a small teaspoon resulted in quiet kids (if messy), happy parents, and a bored chocolate fountain attendant.
Catering companies can usually provide the correct type of chocolate to use with the hired chocolate fountain. The chocolate you use if you are doing it at home should be the best you can afford. Belgian ‘couverture’ chocolate is ideal. It has a very high cacao butter content, which makes the chocolate when liquid flow more freely through the tiers. The look of this chocolate when melted is also superior. It has a glossy shine, and the high cacao butter content also is responsible for that extra fragrant scent so distinctive of chocolate, and which seems to waft and tantalize so easily on the air.
So next time you want to bedazzle, impress and delight your guests, no matter what the occasion, have a liquid chocolate waterfall. Not only will you be able to enjoy the delights of the chocolate fountain yourself, but you will elevate your reputation as a fabulous hostess.
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