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Chocolate fountains bring about that wide-eyed wonder in party guests that any host can appreciate. Rich chocolate flows silky smooth and cascades over various levels in a chocolate tower. Malfunctioning fountains have chocolate that resembles falling pieces of chunky mud that oozes and plops.
Troubleshooting a chocolate fountain may be easier than you think, but the real trick to success comes from a proper setup. We will cover the following:
Why Doesn’t My Chocolate Fountain Work?
That burbling mud-like mess has turned off your guests. Let us troubleshoot why you don’t have that perfect curtain of silky sweetness.
Viscosity: Make Your Chocolate Fluid
Set up your fountain properly and avoid many of the problems stemming from incorrectly prepared chocolate; not all chocolate is the same. High-quality chocolate designed for a chocolate fountain does not require the addition of vegetable oil. Adding vegetable oil to decrease viscosity will vary depending on the chocolate, but add more chocolate if the mixture becomes too runny.
Avoid double boilers; their excessive moisture leads to lower viscosity and improper flow.
Check Your Fountain Foundation
A strong, level base ensures that chocolate flows smoothly and evenly down the levels as it should instead of favoring one side more. Check that the fountain is level and adjust the base if it is not, and hide your electrical cords to ensure guests do not trip over them. Jarring motions may misalign parts of your fountain.
Cavitating Chocolate Fountain
Air bubbles in the auger cylinder lead to that drippy look even when you melt your chocolate to perfection. “Burp the fountain” by turning the auger off and letting the chocolate flow back down. Then, turn it back on again and repeat if needed.
Check the Chocolate’s Temperature
Dark chocolate requires a higher temperature to reach its melting point (whereas milk or white chocolate tends to burn more easily). You burn the chocolate, and it gains a toothpaste-like consistency if the temperature is too high. You may need to replace a good portion of the chocolate if the heat has ruined it.
Upper limits for chocolate
- Dark chocolate: 115 F.
- Milk and white chocolate: 110 F.
Chocolate Fountain Tips and Tricks
Setting up a chocolate fountain is easy if done right. Follow these steps, and you should be successful.
Choose the Proper Location
Avoid having a fountain outdoors where debris and insects can blow into the chocolate. Put it on a sturdy table away from things such as fans and air conditioners that may blow the chocolate around.
Melt the Chocolate
Always make sure to preheat the fountain before adding chocolate. You can melt the chocolate in the fountain base or preheat the chocolate and store it in insulated coolers containers until needed. The latter cuts down the setup time a lot as preparing the chocolate requires the most time.
Activate the Fountain
Once the appropriate amount of chocolate is needed and melted evenly, activate the fountain. Watch to make sure that the chocolate flows evenly and freely across each tier. Refer to our previous section if any issues arise.
Keep the Chocolate Flowing
Know the minimum and maximum amounts of chocolate for your fountain and keep within that range. Use that stored chocolate to add more to the fountain quickly as guests consume it. Do quality control from time to time and adjust the temperature if needed, but never go beyond the upper limits for chocolates (above).
Here are some tips to help you out.
- Keep paper towels, sponges, and cleaning supplies on hand.
- Bring a hairdryer to warm a cold fountain or melt hardened chocolate.
- Keep electrical cords hidden and out of the way.
- Watch out for drunk adults.
- Keep dogs away (chocolate is poisonous to dogs).
- Don’t use crumbly food with the fountain (crumbs fall in and clog).
- Have an attendant watch the station.
How long does it take for a fountain to work?
This depends on the chocolate. The bigger the fountain, the more time you will have to spend heating up chocolate. You might also preheat chocolate and have a fountain up and running very quickly.
Can you test the chocolate fountain with water?
Yes, you can test by running water through the fountain. Fountains should not be run dry. However, the auger cannot carry water to the top; it is too thin.
What chocolate is best for chocolate fountains?
You could use regular chocolate for your fountain; however, the best chocolates are made for use with a fountain. Here is an article by Cooking Time Journal that covers some of the top chocolates available.
Follow our tips, heed our warnings, and you’ll do just fine. Chocolate fountains can bring about that child-like wonder and be the highlight of a party that will have guests chatting for months afterward when done correctly.