How does the unit work?
The unit is comprised of two basic sections: the heater base, which contains the holding basin, and the fountain unit, which contains the "yager" (similar to a corkscrew). The heater is turned on to pre-heat approximately 15 minutes before fountain use, and pre-melted chocolate is poured into the basin. The yager is turned on and the chocolate will begin to flow from the fountain. Theoretically the unit would be able to melt the solid chocolate since it is a tempering unit, but it would take a long time for the chocolate flow to begin. For operating and power use efficiency we therefore recommend pre-melting the chocolate.
How does the chocolate get to the top of the fountain?
Inside of the fountain is a specially designed stainless steel corkscrew that rotates and brings the melted chocolate from the basin to the top reservoir bowl. When that bowl is full, the chocolate overflows and cascades down the fountain back into the basin. This unit does not use a pump, so life expectancy is greatly increased.
How do I pre-melt chocolate?
There are two ways to temper (melt) chocolate; in a double-Dutch boiler on a burner top, or in a microwave using medium heat. Since you must frequently stir the chocolate while it is melting, the most efficient and effective way is using the double-Dutch boiler. Stirring the chocolate constantly will prevent it from crystallizing. If the chocolate is tempered correctly it will become smooth and liquid, and have a nice sheen.
What kind of chocolate can be used in the fountain?
We recommend a type of chocolate called "couverture" (a French word for ‘coating'), which is a higher quality chocolate that contains 32-39% cocoa butter. In addition to creating a better ‘flow', it assures a better taste and a silkier appearance.
Is there a time limit for use, or can it run continuously?
There is no time limit for use, and given that a few basic steps are followed, the unit can run continuously . . . Just adding more melted chocolate to the basin will allow the unit to continue to provide the chocolate flow basically non-stop. If you need to stop the flow for any reason however, (e.g. two functions held on the same day, or unit is used by a candy business where overnight stoppage is necessary) then the following procedure is applicable. The mechanical operation is stopped (i.e. yager motor turned off), but the heating unit is left on keeping the chocolate is the basin at an acceptable consistency and temperature. When you are ready to use the unit again, you must melt the solidified chocolate has melted, turn the yager on and the unit will begin to operate the flow. Some of our customers use a fine screen enclosure (box frame cover) to assure the chocolate is kept clean and pest free if it is to be left overnight.
How often does the chocolate need to be replaced?
As long as the chocolate retains the natural color, viscosity, and smell to allow for it to be considered fresh and edible, you need not replace the chocolate often. This time frame varies dependent on use volume and type of use. If the unit is being used for a one-time function (e.g. a wedding reception) the unit should be completely emptied and cleaned after that one function. Reuse of the same chocolate, even for a function the following day, is not recommended because the chocolate can become "contaminated" with bits of fruit, cookies, etc. in an uncontrolled environment.
If the unit is being used in a controlled environment (e.g. a business) then based on the volume used per day, the unit should not have to be completely emptied/cleaned more than once weekly. The business owner must be the final judge of the recycled chocolate quality as that is their area of expertise. If the chocolate is being used for decorative purposes only (i.e. not to be eaten) then theoretically the chocolate could continue to be used as long as it still had the sheen, appearance, and smell of chocolate. Again, that is an individual business judgment call.
What accompaniments can be used with the fountain?
Basically, anything edible that goes with chocolate can be used, and is only restricted by your imagination. A few examples: strawberries, candies, mint sticks, marshmallows, grapes, orange slices, biscotti, cookies, etc.-see our dipping delights sections.
Are there multiple designs and sizes of the fountain?
The single design available is circular in shape allowing for complete ease of use during parties and functions. There are three sizes available to allow for various production or function requirements. All fountains require a standard 110V three-pronged outlet.
How many people does each size fountain serve?
Small: serves up to 100-150 guests
Medium: serves up to 200-500 guests
Large: serves up to 700-800 guests
Is the fountain easy to assemble, use and clean?
The unit has four components and all require not much more than a drop-click assembly. The motor switch and temperature control knob are the only controls required to operate the unit, and adding additional chocolate may be the only concern while it is operating. Cleaning couldn't' be easier as the three upper fountain components are dishwasher safe, or can be hot water and rinse cleaned. The basin cannot be immersed in water, but cleans with just a short hot water soak and rise. NOTE: You must assure all components are completely dry before use.
Can the fountain be used outside?
We do not recommend using the fountain outside for two reasons: 1) Chocolate attracts insects, 2) Maintaining the flow temperature of the chocolate is critical for continued smooth operation. A cool breeze could cause the chocolate to harden slightly as it is flowing down the fountain, disrupting the flow and causing pieces to be recycled up through the yager. It could be very difficult to maintain a constant temperature in an outside setting.
How soon can I have a unit delivered?
Standard delivery time is: Immediate shipping on rentals units, and approximately 3 weeks for purchase. Based on production schedules, this time may possibly be reduced given the customer's need for urgency.
What is the total cost of the unit?
Small: $2800.00 plus actual shipping/handling charges.
Medium: $3900.00 plus actual shipping/handling charges.
Large: $4200.00 plus actual shipping/handling charges.
How much will it cost for shipping?
All units are shipped FOB and our standard carrier is UPS. The actual shipping charges can be determined based on the size of the unit purchased and the location of the final delivery point. We will be happy to provide you with the charges—just let us know what and where. We also welcome your request for a specific mode of shipment if you are contracted with a certain company, or you just prefer one to another.
How can I pay for the fountain?
We accept check, money order, and all major credit cards-Visa, MasterCard, Discover, & American Express. We accept payment by phone, fax, mail or Internet approval.