If you love dipping treats, you don't have to wait until dessert. Chocolate fountains aren’t just for chocolate anymore! Sure, the ever-popular cheese fountain has made an appearance on many a savory reception table, but tabletop fondue fountains can cascade many more delicious sauces than just chocolate and cheese. Fill yours with your favorite topping and watch as guests cluster around.
If you're renting a fountain, be sure to ask the rental company first before attempting to use your own sauces. The company may be able to give you tips to make sure you don't end up liable for accidental damage.
If you own your own fountain, experiment away! It's actually very hard to damage your fountain, as long as you mix sauces to the right consistency. Look for fountain brands that come with viscosity funnels. These allow you to test the thickness of your sauce before you run it through the fountain. Pour it into the funnel and thin the liquid until it runs through the funnel in the allotted number of seconds (as determined by the funnel's directions). When it pours through the funnel in the right amount of time, you know you've created a fountain-ready sauce!
Fruit Coulis or Puree
Forget merely dipping pieces of fruit–the fountain itself can be filled with fruit! Fill your fondue fountain with fruit coulis (which is a smooth sauce made by pureeing one or more types of fruits) and use it to cover pieces of shortbread, cheesecake, cookies, cream puffs, or even more fresh fruit. Slices of banana work particularly well when dipped into a strawberry coulis fountain.
Where do you get perfectly pourable fruit coulis? If you're not up for some DIY experimentation, you can buy ready-made dessert toppings directly from fondue fountain manufacturers. Cherry, mango, and berry flavors are particularly popular.
If you want to try your hand at creating your own fruit fountain, you can create a fruit coulis in any flavor by simmering fruit and sugar on a low heat until the fruit dissolves. Run it through a blender to make sure you've pureed any remaining fruit pieces. If you're using fruits with inedible seeds or peels, such as oranges, remove those parts before simmering.
Always test the mixture in the viscosity funnel before adding it to the fountain. If it's too thick and flows slowly, you can thin the mixture by adding fruit juice, water, cream, flavored syrups, white wine, or champagne.
Few things are as decadently beautiful as a cascade of molten caramel. Dress up your dessert table with a caramel fountain that ripples down the tiers like silk. Caramel goes equally well with fruit, cookies, marshmallows, chocolate, and cake squares, so you'll be able to offer an appetizing array of dippables for your guests.
Caramel topping can be bought at nearly any grocery store, and it works great as a base for your sauce. To thin the caramel so it flows easily, add butter or corn syrup. You may also want to add rum, vanilla extract, and a few stirred-in egg yolks for a rich, creamy fountain your adult guests will love.
It's a chocolate fountain, but it doesn't have to be sweet! Whip up a savory mole sauce that will have everyone lining up to dip slices of roast chicken, steak, tofu, and grilled veggies into the chocolate waterfall.
This Mexican-inspired sauce is easy to make. Combine unsweetened cocoa powder or melted baking chocolate with tomato paste, cumin, dried and powdered cilantro, garlic powder, and green chile pepper puree. (The amounts can vary based on your personal taste.) Thin the mixture with tomato soup, water, or vegetable oil until it pours easily.
Who needs a plated dinner when the fondue fountain can provide a hearty meal? If the barbecue sauce you love is too thick, thin it with water, tomato soup, beer, or bourbon for a flavorful kick.
Serve platters of mini hot dogs, mini burgers, chicken wings, baked tofu squares, chicken fingers, meatballs, tater tots, honey-glazed carrots, and platters of barbecued meat.
Finally, a salad that doesn't just sit on a plate! Add a little pizzazz to your veggies by running the dressing through a fondue fountain. Creamy dressings work best, and honey mustard and ranch are always crowd pleasers, as well as yogurt-dill sauces. Use the dressing straight out of the bottle, or stir up your own favorite recipe. Just make sure the dressing is thin enough by adding water or oil until it reaches the desired consistency.
When you use your fondue fountain for cold dressings, make sure there is an option to turn off the heating element. The dressing should be thin enough so it cycles through without needing to be melted. Strain the dressing beforehand to get rid of any large pieces of spices.
To accompany your dressing fountain, serve a platter of raw and blanched veggies like cauliflower, baby carrots, celery, and broccoli florets. You can also offer chicken wings or cubes of marinated chicken and steak, as well as baked tofu, sliced apples, large olives, and diced artisan bread.
No matter what you cascade through your fondue fountain, it will be a beautiful and popular centerpiece. Remember to light the fountain attractively to make it look even more appetizing. If you direct a narrow spotlight at the tiers, the light will reflect off of the ripples and look especially striking. Colored lights can also bring out the most appetizing tones in whatever topping you're serving.
Place your fountain on a round table so guests can access it from all sides. It will become an instant conversation piece and mingling point for your reception. Be sure to have plenty of platters ready to replace empty ones, because your delicious offerings are going to disappear quickly!