Ok, so I've got a sweet tooth! But when we looked at renting a chocolate fountain for the wedding, we discovered that it was typically about $400 to rent one--and more in the case of the companies that insisted on having their own attendants there. And that didn't even include the items for dipping. I decided I could do better than that on my own.
Step 1: Finding the Fountain
The first issue was buying the fountain. We wanted one that would hold at least five pounds of chocolate, because otherwise it would require lots of refills for our 60 guests. When we looked at reviews, the only chocolate fountain that was this size and cost less than $100 was the Rival CFF5 Chocolate Fondue Fountain, shown above. Unfortunately, that model has been discontinued. Fortunately, you can still find it on eBay. We bought ours for $50, including the shipping. Not only was this less than rental cost, but we actually got all our money back by reselling the fountain after the wedding for as much as we paid for it.
Step 2: The Chocolate
You can buy special "chocolate fountain" chocolate, but the cost per pound tends to be quite high. Instead, we just bought 10 one-pound bars of chocolate from Trader Joe's. We figured that five pounds would be enough to fill the fountain initially, and we could then use the rest to top up the fountain during the evening.
The only problem with using regular bars of chocolate in a chocolate fountain is that you need to thin the chocolate out to get it the proper consistency to go through the fountain. The instructions for the fountain said to add vegetable oil to the chocolate to thin it out. However, we were concerned that this would also dilute the chocolate taste. After some research, we learned that what professionals use is Paramount Crystals. You can mix up to ¼ cup of crystals to each pound of chocolate. It is very easy to use, and one bag was quite enough for all the chocolate we wanted to serve.
Step 3: Bamboo Skewers
With 60 people at the reception, it seemed impractical to get fondue forks for all of them. However, we found very inexpensive packages of bamboo skewers. We figured these would get the job done, without breaking the bank.
Step 4: Items for Dipping
We got the following for dipping in the chocolate:
- Angel food cake
- Honey dews
- Pretzel sticks
We had the person who was handling the food for our reception cut all of the fruit and the cake into bite-sized pieces for dipping.
Step 5: Serving
And here is the chocolate fountain at our reception! Attractive to look at, and delicious to eat, it gave our guests (and us!) a sweet treat, even before the wedding cake was served.