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Unsurprisingly, chocolate fountains have risen in popularity sharply as they've become available on the consumer market. Formerly the domain of party rentals sphere and only generally found at fancy events, more and more people have added chocolate fountains to their arsenal of home entertaining tools. But how do you use a chocolate fountain?

how to use a chocolate fountainWith Thanksgiving right around the corner and the official kick-off of the holidays, many people are whipping out chocolate fountains, perhaps received as gifts last season, for the very first time. And why not? Can you think of a tastier treat than pumpkin pie bites dipped in white chocolate or pecan pie, also a Thanksgiving staple, enrobed in dark or milk? Fruits, marshmallows, cookie bits and even savory treats like pretzels and potato chips are also popular "recipes" for chocolate fountains.

We've used a chocolate fountain at events like Maker Faire, and the process can be a little daunting if you're a first time chocolate fountain user. But the process is fairly easy- we've compiled a few helpful hints on how to use your chocolate fountain:

Cocoa butter or oil makes the chocolate go round: Couverture chocolate, with a cocoa butter percentage of between 33%-45% is recommended to ensure smooth chocolate flow. If your chocolate has a lower percentage, you can add a bit of oil during the melting phase. One recommended ratio is a half cup of oil to five pounds of good quality chocolate.

Melt first, dip chocolate later: A chocolate fountain can melt chocolate, but using a microwave or double boiler speeds up the process and ensures even melting and less fuss.

Crumbs and fountains don't mix: If possible, avoid crumbly dippers like dry cookies or cakes. They'll get unsightly bits in your smooth, flowy chocolate.

Chocolate's like a Gremlin- don't get it wet! Inadvertent introduction of water can cause chocolate to 'seize' and get lumpy. Keep water away from the fountain!

You are what you heat: Better quality chocolate leads to better quality fondue parties. Less well made chocolates won't harm your fountain, but good chocolate=good chocolate covered strawberries.

Got questions? Let us know in the comments and we might be able to help out- or if it's a holiday party emergency, you can try reaching out to us on Twitter. Are you dusting off the chocolate fountain for Turkey Day? Got any suggestions for delicious dippables?

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