The 8 Best Chocolate Fountains
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Add some glamour and delicious fun to your next dinner party or birthday bash with one of these impressive chocolate fountains. These devices pump your melted sweet treat over a number of tiers, so guests can dip skewers of fruit, marshmallows, caramels, pretzel sticks, and more. Many also come in handy for serving other things, like barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, and nacho cheese. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 19, 2021:
With all of our existing choices for this category continuing to be superb selections, it was a quick round of updates for us that saw no new omissions for the category. We did, however, find one new option for the top of our list.
The Vevor ANT-8130 is a seven-tier unit that stands over three feet tall. It costs considerably more than most models in this category – at least the consumer-targeting choices that we focused on – but it makes up for that with the wow factor it brings to the table. After all, if this fountain isn’t going to impress your guests, then for all intents and purposes, you may as well stick with a fondue pot. If you’re ambitious, you can fit up to 22 pounds of chocolate in this machine, making it a great choice for big mixers with a lot of hungry attendees.
March 11, 2020:
Kick your next party up a notch with one of these elegant and stylish chocolate fountains. They’re often more fun to watch and to use than a fondue pot, thanks to their tall, cascading design. In today’s update, we added in another model from Wilton, a well-respected name in baking products. The Wilton Mini Fondue Set is well suited for a small party or a fun night with a few friends, and it conveniently comes with everything you’ll need to get started: 2 pounds of chocolate discs, a 50-pack of 8-inch dipping sticks, and a 50-pack of 12-inch ones. As for the device itself, it features three canopies that are spaced nicely to allow for dipping of fruit pieces, pretzels, and so on. Note that you can purchase the fountain without the chocolate and sticks, but the current price difference is negligible, so the kit is well worth the money. The Wilton Pro retains its top spot on the list, incidentally, since it has a lot to offer. Looks-wise, it reminds us of something straight out of the movie “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” thanks to its appealing chocolate-colored design. The large bowl keeps the contents properly melted, so it’ll keep your guests entertain both entertained and well fed for hours.
Also joining the list in today’s updated is the Nostalgia CFF1000, which is an auger-style model that’s great for using not just chocolate, but also cheese, barbecue sauce, or ranch dressing. Its heat settings let you select the right temperature for your chosen ingredient, which also allows you to use foods in it that aren’t meant to be heated. Guests will enjoy watching the gooey chocolate or cheese drip from tier to tier. Its settings are easy to control with the turn of a dial.
Leaving our selection today are the ClearMax CF-892 and the Disney DCM-50 Mickey Mouse fountain, both of which are no longer available at this time. As a note of caution, close adult supervision is required when any chocolate fountain is in use near children, as these devices can get very hot. As a general rule, always keep dogs and other pets away from chocolate foods.
Sagra Mammoth 55-Inch Well suited for large weddings or other sizable gatherings, this device can hold up to eight pounds of product at once, and it allows you to run two flavors of chocolate, caramel, or peanut butter on each of the two sides. It combines two direct-drive motors and two augers to ensure a constant flow. All parts are clearly marked for assembly (it can be set up in around four minutes), and the auger and tier stack are separate pieces, making for easy cleaning. It’s equipped with two carrying cases and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. sweetfountains.com
Sephra Montezuma This 34-inch, commercial-grade fountain features three tiers and is convertible into a 44-inch model when you purchase the extension kit. It holds a maximum of 20 pounds of chocolate, and requires a minimum of 12 pounds to operate. It’s available in your choice of either brushed or polished stainless steel and comes with custom, double-wall polymer travel cases. It weighs a total of 51 pounds and can serve 150 or more guests. sephrausa.com
Chocolate, Chocolate Everywhere And What A Treat To Drink
Fluids like ketchup, mayonnaise, molten chocolate, and even lava are classified as non-Newtonian because their flowing behavior is less predictable than either water or oil.
Chocolate is one of those flavors that produces an instant sense of euphoria and gratification that transcends virtually any sweet dessert. Because it evokes so many feelings of warmth, childhood, and the festive nature of the holidays, it's no wonder that a person would also want to have a way to serve it in its fanciful form at a party, hence the unique nature of serving the treat in liquid form to a large group of people.
A chocolate fountain is a special piece of cookware designed to serve chocolate in a fondue form. The fountain often resembles a stepped-up cone shape with stacked tiers, standing two to four feet tall, with a large basin at the bottom and a decoration at the top that is reminiscent of a pyramid or Christmas tree. The fountain's basin is typically heated in order to keep the chocolate in its liquid state. From the basin, the liquid chocolate is pulled into a center cylinder and vertically transported to the top by a corkscrew auger. From that location, it then flows over each tier, creating a waterfall or curtain of liquid into which a variety of foods can be dipped, glazed, and covered.
These fountains typically fall into two categories, commercial and home use with the main difference between the two being their size. Commercial fountains range between twenty and fifty inches in height and are ideal for use in catering situations. Commercial devices are constructed from food-grade stainless steel and are typically rented to a party host. Depending on how large an event is, commercial fountains can hold up to thirty-five pounds of melted chocolate and these rentals come with an assistant to ensure that the units continue to function properly. Home-use fountains stand up to nineteen or twenty inches tall, they hold around five to six pounds of chocolate, and are made with a combination of plastic and steel components. The majority of home-use models are also dishwasher safe.
Because some may think of chocolate fountains as a fanciful gimmick, they might be quick to dismiss what makes the machines work, claiming there isn't much science behind their operation. In fact, there is a great deal of physics and chemistry to consider. Two components integral to the proper function of a chocolate fountain include its overall motion and the combination of the type of chocolate and additives used to ensure that its gravitational forces remain proportional to the consistency of the liquid chocolate itself. In other words, considering the fluid dynamics of the fountain as well as the shape of its tiers are both important factors.
When we discuss fluid dynamics, we are simply focusing on the science and mechanics behind how a liquid (or gas) behaves when it's in motion. What does this all mean? The surface tension of liquid chocolate causes it to fall inward as it flows, while the gravitational forces of the fountain's tiers allow the molten chocolate to cascade downward, producing that attractive waterfall effect. Liquids are also classified as either Newtonian or non-Newtonian in nature, which focuses on a liquid's behavior of motion relative to its viscosity (ability to resist deformation). Fluids like ketchup, mayonnaise, molten chocolate, and even lava are classified as non-Newtonian because their flowing behavior is less predictable than either water or oil.
Because it is an unpredictable, non-Newtonian fluid, the best type of chocolate for use in fountains is couverture chocolate due to its high level of cocoa butter. If the cocoa butter content of the chocolate is too low, then an additive must be mixed with it to decrease its viscosity and ensure a consistent flow. When this is needed, vegetable oil is a reliable additive, but even this must be used in moderation to prevent making the chocolate taste gritty or bitter.
Flowing In The Right Direction
Depending on the size of the event and the needs, one must first determine whether they prefer to rent a commercial fountain or purchase a home-use model. When investing in a home-use chocolate fountain, prepare for a bit of experimentation at first to ensure that you get the right mix of oil and chocolate for a consistent flow.
After all, the last thing you want is an overly-viscous chocolate that's hard for your guests to indulge in.
Remember that a home-use fountain won't be as tall as a commercial-grade unit, so balancing the chocolate's viscosity will be a bit tricky and require some trial and error. After all, the last thing you want is an overly-viscous chocolate that's hard for your guests to indulge in.
Secondly, a reliable heating element equipped with a variety of temperature settings is beneficial to keep your chocolate molten and hot enough without being burnt.
Stainless steel components (for the basin and tiers) are typically the easiest to keep clean and put in the dishwasher. Try to find a unit that comes with additional accessories such as dipping sticks or serving forks, which your guests can use to dip their foods into the fountain.
Finally, consider the power of the fountain's electric motor to keep the chocolate flowing. Some of the best fountains have motors offering up to 170 watts of power.
A Brief History Of Chocolate Fountains
Chocolate has been consumed for well over two thousand years. Its roots date back to the ancient peoples of Mexico and Central America. These people lived in locations where the cacao (cocoa) tree would grow in the rain forests. Ancient Mexican cultures mixed the pods of the cacao tree with water and other seasonings to make a spicy, chocolaty drink called chocolate. The ancient Mayans harvested cacao beans from these trees and went on to farm them in what became the first known cocoa plantations.
Distribution and manufacturing of the product in the United States became more active at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The popularity of drinking chocolate eventually spread throughout Europe with altered variations to its texture and flavor, particularly after the Spanish conquistadors returned to Spain with seeds collected from the cacao tree. By the Victorian era, chocolate became a solid confectionery and its popularity in this form has continued to grow ever since.
The first chocolate fountain machines for caterers were invented by Ben Brisman and popularized in 1991 by Canadian company Design and Realisation. These fountains were first displayed at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago by the early 1990s. Distribution and manufacturing of the product in the United States became more active at the beginning of the twenty-first century. By the end of 2004, chocolate fountains were introduced to the home consumer market with the Nostalgia Chocolate Fountain.
Popularity of the fountain has continued to increase in the retail market with growing numbers of requests for the machine at social events. In recent years, flavored oils and food coloring have been added to the fountains to give the chocolate an extra taste and to mark special holidays or occasions.