Eating chocolate for a review is a tough job, but we just felt that it had to be done to bring you the verdict on the latest phenomenon that is the Chocolate Fountain. It is a tough job, but someone has to take the hit for the team.
Out of the box and the stainless steel structure comes with three tiers and its overall height is about 15 inches top to bottom. Power is provided by the three-pin socket and it would have been nice to have the option of a battery-powered model, but atlas you won't find that here.
Basically, the chocolate is heated in the basin and then carried to the top of the fountain via a rotating internal shaft (or an Archimedes screw for you clever types out there). According to Firebox.com one of the sellers of the fountain in the UK, the screw has been used over the choice of a pump, because it apparently eliminates the usual blockages associated with pumps so your fountain will always flow smoothly.
Any melting chocolate will do, Firebox actually include 900g to get your started, and in our tests we found the more the better is needed to get a good flow and a decent looking fountain.
To get even better results we found that adding a splash of vegetable oil into the mix made the chocolate flow easier. Whatever you do however, no matter what the temptation, do not add alcohol as this will turn your smooth running chocolate into a thick lump of goo faster than you'll be able to eat it (trust us, we tried).
For the ultimate test, we wheeled the Chocolate Fountain out for a party and it certainly lit up the faces of the guests. Good foodstuffs to put in the falling curtain of chocolate include marshmallows, pineapple, strawberries, cake and rather strangely chicken (if Heston Blumenthal can do it at the Fat Duck in Bray you can do it at home).
VerdictIf you want to spruce up your buffet spread at Christmas then the Chocolate Fountain will certainly do it.
Where it’s more exciting than just a warm pot of chocolate is that you can place your dipping food under the fountain just as you would your hand under a tap without the fear of losing that strawberry at the bottom of a chocolate pool.
If of course you are on a budget then a pot of hot chocolate will always win as the overly-extrovert fountain will set you back £70.
For those not put off by the price, we have just two pieces of advice for any would be buyer:
Firstly make sure the area around the fountain is well protected - the chocolate goes everywhere - table clothes to carpets won’t be safe
Secondly make sure you clean it straight after you’ve finished with it, else it’s a bugger to clean the next day.
Overall though the Chocolate Fountain is good for any party whether it’s Christmas or not, just make sure you’ve got room in the cupboard to store yet another cooking gadget between your social events.