Best Chocolate Fountains of 2018
A chocolate fountain is a fun, yet elegant, centerpiece for any social gathering. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best chocolate fountain to wow the guests at your next birthday bash.
Sweet Tooth: Your Guide to the Best Chocolate Fountains
For any chocoholic, a chocolate fountain is a dream come true. A chocolate fountain's dramatic appearance alone makes it the ideal centerpiece for any party. But it's the delicious river of free-flowing chocolate that really makes a chocolate fountain a hit.
Choosing the right chocolate fountain can be tough, though, because there are so many options on the market. You need to know what material to look for, number of tiers, and capacity, so you wind up with a chocolate fountain that best suits your party needs.
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Renting vs. Buying Chocolate Fountains
A chocolate fountain is an elegant, eye-catching centerpiece for everything from a birthday party to a wedding reception. Not only impressive to look at, chocolate fountains also deliver delicious melted chocolate, which makes them surefire crowd pleasers.
Many people rent commercial chocolate fountains for their special occasions, which cost $300 to $400 on average, depending on the chocolate fountain and how long you need it.
If you want to have a chocolate fountain for a variety of events—or around the house for fun—purchasing one is a much more economical option. While at-home models don't offer the same capacity as commercial chocolate fountains, you'll pay considerably less and have a chocolate fountain ready to go whenever the mood strikes.
Why You Need a Chocolate Fountain at Home
Let's take a look at some of the benefits of a home chocolate fountain.
- Striking Appearance: No centerpiece is quite as dramatic—or delicious—as a chocolate fountain.
- Time-Saving: You can set up a chocolate fountain ahead of time, which means you'll be able to mingle with your guests rather than worry about food preparation.
- Convenient: Guests can serve themselves from a chocolate fountain.
- Versatile: Most chocolate fountains can also be used with cheese fondue and other sauces for a savory twist.
- Fun: Whether you're an adult or a child, dipping fruit and other goodies in a river of free-flowing chocolate is about as fun as it gets!
Before You Fondue: What to Look for When Buying a Chocolate Fountain
Chocolate fountains are typically made of either stainless steel or plastic.
- Stainless Steel: Stainless-steel chocolate fountains are usually more expensive, but they also tend to be more durable. Stainless-steel chocolate fountains are more effective at maintaining an even temperature. They're harder to clean, though.
- Plastic: Plastic chocolate fountains usually don't last as long, but they're less expensive. Their components are usually dishwasher-safe, too, which makes cleaning up much easier.
Chocolate fountains vary in terms of how much chocolate they can accommodate at one time. A chocolate fountain's capacity is measured in the number of pounds of chocolate the fountain can hold.
- Small: For a small dinner party, a chocolate fountain with a 2-pound capacity works well.
- Medium: For a mid-size gathering, a chocolate fountain with a 2.5-pound to 4-pound capacity is ideal.
- Large: For a large party, a chocolate fountain with at least a 5-pound capacity works best.
Keep in mind that as long as you continue adding fresh chocolate, any size chocolate fountain can accommodate any party size.
Number of Tiers
Chocolate fountains feature a series of tiers that chocolate flows between, which makes for their impressive appearance. The standard number of tiers for most home chocolate fountains is three. However, you can find smaller chocolate fountains that only have two tiers for a subtler look.
On the other hand, for a more dramatic look, you can choose from chocolate fountains with four to six tiers. Take into consideration that six-tier chocolate fountains are fairly tall, so you may have more difficulty finding a spot to place one.
Chocolate fountains use either a regular pump or an auger-style pump to move the chocolate through the fountain.
- Pump: Pump chocolate fountains have a tube that draws the melted chocolate through the fountain. This style of chocolate fountain is usually less expensive, but it can clog easily. You have to ensure that the chocolate is thin enough to keep it moving well through the system.
- Auger: An auger-style pump has a corkscrew design that helps lift and move the chocolate through the fountain. These types of chocolate fountains are more expensive, but they rarely clog. You also don't have to worry about thinning out the chocolate to run it through the fountain.
Variable Temperature Settings
If you want more precise control over your chocolate fountain, look for a model that offers variable temperature controls. Some chocolate fountains have up to four different temperature settings, while others simply have low and high settings.
When a chocolate fountain is running, it's normal for it to make some noise. However, some chocolate fountains are noisier than others, which may ruin the ambience at your party. If you're concerned about noise, choose a chocolate fountain that specifically mentions a "whisper-quiet" or "silent" motor to ensure that it isn't too loud.
If a chocolate fountain isn't on a level surface, the chocolate won't flow properly through the system. A chocolate fountain that offers adjustable feet makes it easier to level the fountain because you can raise or lower the feet to prevent wobbling.
How Much Should You Spend on a Chocolate Fountain?
Chocolate fountains vary in price based on the capacity, material, and other features, but you can typically expect to spend between $15 and $180.
- Inexpensive: For a small chocolate fountain with a half-pound to 2-pound capacity, you'll usually pay between $15 and $35.
- Mid-Range: For a medium chocolate fountain with a 2.5-pound to 4-pound capacity, you'll usually pay between $35 and $65.
- Expensive: For a large chocolate fountain with a 4-pound to 6-pound capacity, you'll usually pay between $65 and $180.
Tips for the Most Impressive (and Delectable) Chocolate Fountains
- When choosing a spot to place a chocolate fountain, keep it away from wind and drafts. Avoid setting a chocolate fountain directly under an air conditioner, fan, vent, or near an open window.
- Before you add chocolate to your chocolate fountain, make sure the fountain is completely level on its table or surface. If the chocolate fountain is uneven, the chocolate won't flow properly.
- Nearly all chocolate fountains require you to melt the chocolate before adding it to the fountain's bowl. Make sure to preheat the chocolate fountain before adding the chocolate, too, to ensure the chocolate doesn't harden once you pour it in the bowl.
- Adding oil to the melted chocolate helps it flow more easily through the chocolate fountain. Unrefined coconut oil is an ideal option.
- While a chocolate fountain can be a lot of fun, it can be dangerous for dogs because they can't tolerate chocolate. Never leave a chocolate fountain unattended around your pets.
- Always clean your chocolate fountain immediately after use. Once the chocolate hardens, it's much harder to clean the fountain.
Q. What type of chocolate can I use in a chocolate fountain?
A. Chocolate fountains can usually accommodate any type of chocolate. But manufacturers often recommend couverture chocolate, which is high-quality chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa butter than eating or baking chocolate. The extra cocoa butter helps the chocolate flow better in the chocolate fountain. If you use a lower-quality chocolate, it helps to add some oil to improve its flow. Consult the manufacturer's instructions for recommendations on the best chocolate to use in your chocolate fountain.
Q. How long can a chocolate fountain run?
A. Chocolate fountains are plugged into an electrical outlet, so they can run as long as you'd like. But you may need to add fresh chocolate to the fountain to keep it flowing properly.
Q. Can I use a chocolate fountain outdoors?
A. While you can use a chocolate fountain anywhere with an electrical outlet, it's not a good idea to operate a chocolate fountain outside. Not only can wind be a factor in disrupting the flow, but cooler temperatures can cause the chocolate to harden. The chocolate fountain might also attract insects in an outdoor setting.