Most people don't put much effort into buying chocolate for a chocolate fondue fountain. Perhaps they have a few bags of chocolate chips on hand or they'll even buy some of those brick sized chocolate bars. Sure this will work fine and the whole fountain concept will still impress your party guests. But true chocolate aficionados use gourmet chocolate in their fountains and you can definitely taste the difference.
Melting regular supermarket chocolate chips is not an option in the most popular home versions of the chocolate fondue fountain. The chocolate will be too thick and if it can actually be pumped to the top of the fountain, you won't get that cascading waterfall effect that these machines are famous for. Plain chocolate will just drip if you're lucky. If you're unlucky, it will clog your fountain, leaving you with a few pounds of chocolate that needs to be melted with hot water before you can use your fountain again. When using regular chocolate, you will need to add a significant amount of vegetable oil in order for the chocolate to be fluid enough for the fountain to work.
The best way to melt supermarket chocolate is with a double boiler. For every two pounds of chocolate, you should slowly add one cup of vegetable oil while stirring. If you can handle your double boiler and an electric mixer at once, then the mixing won't be too hard. You probably won't need the entire cup of oil so add it slowly and stop when you think the chocolate looks right. But don't forget that you can't add more oil when the chocolate is already in the fountain. So if you are in doubt, add more oil.
The easiest way to set up your chocolate fondue fountain is to use couverture chocolate. Couverture is a French word that means to cover. Courverture chocolate is usually used for making candies or for dipping so it's perfect for a chocolate fountain. It's made with a higher percentage of cocoa butter than normal chocolate and melts to a smoother texture. Couverture chocolate will give you that elegant looking waterfall effect without any additional oil or mixing required. The only drawback is that it's very expensive when compared to supermarket chocolate.
Melting couverture chocolate is the same as regular chocolate. Either use a double boiler or a microwave. Since you won't be adding any additional oil or using the electric mixer, the microwave can work great. Set the microwave for a minute at a time and stir in between.
Whoever decided that turning a chocolate fondue fountain into a home appliance should be given a medal. Why save the chocolate fountain for weddings and other large parties when you can now set it up every weekend. If you are having a birthday party or a barbeque, why not add some pizzazz to the event with a chocolate fondue fountain. Whether you choose expensive couverture chocolate or regular supermarket chocolate chips, it's sure to taste delicious.