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I have been putting off buying one of these gadgets for a few years now, but the time came when my 8 year old son wanted to have a cinema party & buffet which included a chocolate fountain. I couldn't put it off any longer and gave in.
When taking it out of the box you can see that it's built well but it's NOT entirely made of stainless steel, only the heating bowl is. The instructions tell you how to assemble the center column and it gives you good information on which chocolate is suited and includes a few recipes. On the 5 occasions that I've used it I offer a platter of fruit, marshmellow, waffles and breadsticks. The setting up process can be speeded up by melting your chocolate in the microwave, this saves at least 30 mins or so. But once it gets moving you can leave it on for quaite a few hours.
WHAT THEY DONT TELL YOU:
It's imperitive that to acheive a successful and uninterupted flow of chocolate that you purchase premium quality choccy. We made the mistake of buying regular chocolate which we then had to mix with horrid vegetable oil - OMG all the extra calories. I can highly recommend Giles and Posner chocolate. This comes in a 450g pouch (£8.99) which you can heat in the microwave for a minute and empty into fountain. I'd also recommend that you put at least 900g in to get a good cascading flow going, any less then you'll get it dribbing down in quite a pathetic manner.
CLEANING THE PRODUCT:
At first I didn't know where to start. All I can suggest is that you soak the spirals in very hot water to get the excess off and maybe pop it in the dishwasher for an extra good clean. I have found that I got faster at cleaning it!
Before you turn the fountain on please make sure that where ever you are using it you protect your table, or kitchen surfaces with clingfilm or something similar. We have quartz kitchen worktops and didn't put any protective covers down. I paid the prie for this and it took me 3 hours to scrape all the droplets of chocolate off. Although my friend did tell me after that I could have used an iron and tissue to speed the process up! Trust me the flipping chocolate gets everywhere, on your clothes, the floor and evening the walls. ALSO do not let the chocolate dry in the machine, this could take you a day to sort out.
It's a novelty product and great for any chocoholics starting out . And to be honest I'd rather of saved my money and used a fondue set which is easy to setup and clean. Although the kids love it and it's great for socials.
Purchased from Amazon at £39.99
I must admit straight off the bat that this is one of the least used appliances in our home. It comes out twice a year guaranteed and some times it comes out of it's tomb beneath the sink if we have guests over. The two guaranteed times are my sisters birthday and Stephen's day / boxing day depending on which country we spend Christmas each year.
This particular model is made by Russel Hobbs and at first glance you would be forgiven for thinking it's completely made of sturdy material, it's not, the base and chocolate pan are made of stainless steel but the layered tires on to which the liquid chocolate flows are actually made of strong shiny plastic but once the chocolate starts flowing these are hidden from view. This is in stark contrast to the large fancy ones that are used at weddings for example, their tires are stainless steel which makes more sense as they can warm up and keep the chocolate from congealing as it cools.
This fountain is however very simple to use and assemble. It has a good long cord meaning it doesn't have to be right up against the plug socket. There are three of the plastic tiers and they simply slot together and they in turn slot in to the base. There are only two controls to use and these are situated in clear view on the front of the unit. One knob is for turning on the heating pan and the other is to turn on the pump, simple.
I was of the impression that this fountain would actually do everything but it doesn't. I thought it would melt the chocolate and the make it flow beautifully. This however isn't the case. I have to first melt the chocolate in the microwave or in bowl over barely simmering water. I prefer the old fashioned method of the pot and bowl and the reason for this is simple, if the chocolate isn't watched carefully in the microwave it can burn and scorch very easily and very quickly.
Another thing worth adding is that I can't just use any chocolate I like. There are special chocolate fountain buttons that can be bought and we have used them but while they melt and flow wonderfully I didn't like the taste very much, but then again I am a bit of a chocolate snob. There are expensive, Belgian, fondu, fountain buttons but because I am the only one that would need them there isn't much point buying them. The fact that I don't like cheep chocolate that consists mostly of fat and very little cocoa would make using this machine quite expensive if it was up to me. Thankfully it is not.
If you use a few bars of Cadbury's chocolate for example it will NOT flow through the pump mechanism. The reason for this is it's just too thick. They do however give a very useful suggestion to deal with this problem in the user manual. They suggest that you add a little vegetable or sunflower oil to the chocolate and as disgusting as that may sound it actually doest change the taste but does make store bought brand name chocolate work like a dream and it also makes the liquid chocolate very shiny and even more appetising looking as it cascades down over the tiers like a chocolate waterfall.
So once I have melted lots of my chocolate of choice in the bowl and added a splash of vegetable oil I then turn on the heating knob and pour the molten chocolate in to the stainless steel pan than straight away turn on the pump mechanism. Soon enough the contents of the bowl deplete slightly as the pump sucks the chocolate in and it appears out the top and begins it's impressive journey down layer after layer in a smooth silky wave of luscious liquid goodness. When it reaches the end it joins the lake of chocolate and that way the flow is never interrupted. It does work very well and looks great.
When we have people over we make sure to have a stupidly large number of wooden skewers available and an equally large number of paper plates. As you can imagine dripping is a major issue when using this fountain so a paper plate held under your skewer is always a good idea or at the very least a serviette. We usually have a mouthwatering selection of goodies to dip. We normally have the obligatory strawberries (lovely with a glass of bubbly) pink and White marshmallows, Lady fingers, dense cubes medeira cake, banana slivers, Mellon balls and zingy keewee discs. On the rare occasion that it is an adults only party we sometimes add a heavy splash of Baileys Irish cream to the chocolate for that extra added bit of luxury. Of course you can add any alcohol of your choice or even a splash of strong espresso. The reason I said earlier that I melt a lot of chocolate is that sooner than later you will need to top up the dish to ensure the chocolate keeps flowing.
Now for the bad news. The moment this machine is turned on I become abscessed with hygiene and making sure there is no "double dipping" going on. This means you must skewer your chosen treat and place it under the flowing chocolate. Then once it's sufficiently covered you then remove your skewer and it's contents and devour it happily. But there is nothing more disgusting than the thought of someone then putting the same half eaten piece of food back under the chocolate and sharing their germs with everyone else. As long as the double dipping rule is followed this is a perfectly hygienic appliance to use, but unfortunately most people don't voluntarily play by the rules.
Once the party is over and everyone is gone home this is an appliance that can't be left until the next day, well it can but the job of cleaning it will be a lot harder if the chocolate cools and hardens. I always make sure to dismantle the plastic tiers and remove the stainless steel pan. This is very messy so it's best to carry the fountain to the sink to minimise the sticky, sloppy, drippy mess. Both the tiers and the pan can be washed in warm soapy water and as they both are basically non stick they wash up very easily. The body of the fountain can get the odd drip and splash on it but it wipes off easily with a damp cloth. The base unit must not come into contact with water as it houses all the electrics.
This as I said at the beginning of my review doesn't get used very often but when it does it works well and every body seems to enjoy it not only for the novelty side of it but also because if you love chocolate, having a fountain of it flowing in your home can't be a bad thing, well unless you're on a diet that is.
Thanks for reading :0) 2night.
This can be purchased online at :
For £39.99 + shipping.
I got this for my boyfriend's birthday party last year and it went down a storm, all the guests really enjoyed using it and it gave an extra buzz to our house party. I wasn't planning on getting one of these till I saw that it had been reduced to under £13 pounds on Amazon. So it was a bit of an impulse buy as I always thought that they where one of those things that get lost at the back of the kitchen cupboard.
The fountain is silver in colour with 'Temptations' wrote across the front in pink. There are two dials on the front labelled 'Heat' and 'Fountain' these are pretty self explanatory but the heat dial keeps the chocolate warm and runny and the fountain dial sets the pump going to keep the chocolate flowing. There is a stainless steel bowl you put the chocolate into but the top is made out of plastic parts that you stack up to make the fountain and slot into the base. It's easy and quick to put together but very messy to take apart and clean.
Since I got mine I have used it twice which isn't a lot for a product over a year old but it has done the rounds with family and friends so has been used a fair bit. It takes a little getting used to with regards to the right amount of chocolate you use and the chocolates consistency, but after one go its easy to use again.
It is fairly straightforward to run, the trick is too get the chocolate the right consistency. If you use the chocolate fountain beans its really straight forward you just melt it in a bain-marie and add it too the fountain following the instructions but if you want to use your own chocolate you have to add some vegetable oil to it as its melting to make it flow. This sounds a bit yuck but if you use the special fountain chocolate it has a much higher fat content any way so it's just the same.
You need to use a lot of chocolate to get it to flow properly because otherwise if wont pump round properly and will drizzle rather than flow. I've tried flavouring the chocolate with Tia Maria and Amaretto which is uba nice, chilli powder for a spicy kick and even using pretzels for dipping for a more grown up selection. Tastes like pretzel flips if you remember them?
So far my Russell Hobs fountain has not let me down it really makes a celebration out of any night by just putting it on. I would say paying full price for one at £50 may not be great value if you work out cost per use but if you can get a bargain one like I did and have the storage space it's a nice little gadget. If you just want if for a one off I'd put the money into hiring a massive one as you can do this for £80 for 24hrs. As this model would be a little small for a big party and you would have to constantly top it up.
Thanks for reading :0)
A chocolate fountain is not an essential item but it is a great addition to a party. After attending a friend's birthday parties when she had a chocolate fountain which was a great success I decided it to borrow it for a mini cinema evening we were holding for my son and some of his friends which also meant there would be plenty adults present.
My friend owned the Russell Hobbs Temptations 13523 Single Chocolate Fountain so there was no thought process in which one to use other than knowing it had worked successfully at her party.
The fountain itself
The fountain is advertised as made from stainless steel this is actually only the base and lower pan and the higher tires are made of strong plastic. This does not affect the aesthetics of the product as once it is running the cheap looking plastic cannot be seen.
It does have a fairly long wire which is essential so you can locate it in the most appropriate area.
Setting up the chocolate fountain is simply a task of slotting together the pieces of the fountain and inserting them into the fountain base.
The Fountain is very simple and basic in design. It has two main controls the first been to heat the pans and then also another knob to start and stop the fountain.
To start I simply turned the on switch and leave it to warm for approximately for r five minutes. While doing this the chocolate melted either in the microwave or in a glass bowl over boiling water. It takes approximately 5-6 bars of chocolate which is rather a lot although I did used baking chocolate in the one I made which meant it didn't work out overly expensive. You are advise to add a little oil which is designed to help the oil flow Then we turned on the fountain switch .Initially it wasn't all completely melted and the fountain did not seem to run at a normal flow but after a little bit of stirring the fountain started to flow freely. As it does have a heat switch this can be run for as long as you want.
My friend used sponge fingers as well as marshmallows but my favourite is fruit.
I think that strawberries are the perfect accompaniment for chocolate but have also found that grapes and banana slices have also been firm favourites. While you can use the fruit of preference be aware that the acid in some fruits such as pineapple will cause the chocolate to separate.
You can also add a drop of alcohol for adult parties.
Russell hobs also give a recipe for a BBQ sauce for barbecues but it isn't something I would plan to do but this again would definitely create a talking point from your party as it would be something unusual.
Using the fountain
Once it was running we left it running for a couple of hours and kept it in the kitchen as there were very young children around the youngest been 2 and a half. Obviously at that age they had supervision to use it but with the long fondue forks they were all able to use the fountain sensibly. We did have a lot of mess and dribbles of chocolate but due to the age I think this is to be expected. It was well received by all the children and was a great way to get fruit into them. We used strawberries and bananas and the fountain ended as they had simply eaten all the fruit.
The plastic tier can be taken apart while cooling but do be aware not to do this instantly as it will be initially be too hot. I strongly advise you do this while it is still warm as it does have so many little crevices to clean in with solid chocolate would be a nightmare. When you clear out the chocolate you do see how much chocolate gets wasted although you could leave it in the fridge to reset. I have to say for me personally as my house had smelled of chocolate and I had eaten my share of chocolate coated fruit I didn't have any desire to eat chocolate again and simply threw it in the bin.
This is a great product that did end up been the talking point of a party. You do need to consider how often you would use this as it could end up sitting in your kitchen taking up space.
I have found this online from cookingtime.co.uk for £40 with £2.95.