If you’ve never used one before, it may be intimidating to buy such a large quantity of chocolate for a chocolate fountain. Most machines need one to two pounds of chocolate, which is equal to 40 Hershey’s bars or roughly 3 bags of chocolate chips.
The most important characteristics of chocolate for fountain or fondue set up are: high fat content, a high cacao percentage, and sugar content. More on assessing these traits below.
To make your chocolate fountain chocolate melting experience as smooth as possible (pun intended), I’ve pulled together a list of my favorite brands of chocolate for chocolate fountain set up. This is crucial to do before your event is getting started, so let’s dig right in!
Here are my brand recommendations for the best chocolate for chocolate fountain prep, from the higher end to the more malleable.
Expert’s Top 5 Picks
Best Quality: Valrhona Chocolate 70% Guanaja
Allergy-Friendly: Pascha 85% Dark Chocolate
Milk Chocolate: Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips
Sugar-Free Chocolate: Lily’s Chips
Cheapest: Wilton’s Original Brand Meltables
- Expert’s Top 5 Picks
- Best Chocolate Fountain Chocolate Characteristics
- Melting Chocolate for Chocolate Fountain (Tips)
- Best Chocolate Fountain Chocolate Brands
Best Chocolate Fountain Chocolate Characteristics
As stated above, the most important characteristics of chocolate fountain chocolate are: 1) high fat content, 2) high cacao percentage, and 3) sweetness. Let’s break this down.
If anything, high fat content is the most important trait of good chocolate fountain chocolate. This is because the higher the fat, the more easily & quickly it will melt when you’re preparing to add it to your fountain. For this you’ll probably want to opt for couverture chocolate rather than chocolate chips, though the chips will work in a pinch.
The next most important thing about your chocolate fountain chocolate will be a high cacao percentage. The higher the percentage, the stronger the chocolatey flavor will be in your final fountain chocolate, because to get the chocolate liquid you need to add a LOT of cream or oil.
Finally is the level of sweetness in your chocolate. If you like a sweeter chocolate, you’ll want to opt for a milk chocolate or a low-percentage dark chocolate, because the only sweetness in your chocolate fondue will be from the chocolate itself.
You can check the sweetness level of your chocolate by looking at the nutrition panel on the packaging— just divide the grams of sugar per serving by the grams per serving, and you have the sugar percentage of your chocolate.
Melting Chocolate for Chocolate Fountain (Tips)
Before you preheat your machine as directed (just 3-5 minutes for the Nostalgia), you’ll want to heat the chocolate. If using a 24oz. chocolate fountain, measure out 1 1/4 cups heavy cream per 20oz. of chocolate, preferably a high-quality dark chocolate like Guittard or Valrhona, though you could also use a milk chocolate.
MICROWAVE METHOD (easy way).
To heat chocolate for a chocolate fountain in the microwave, start by putting all your chocolate and cream into a silicone or glass bowl. Heat for 1 minute on high, then stir it and put it back for 4 bouts of 20 seconds, stirring between each one.
After the 4th bout, let the chocolate sit in the microwave for 30 seconds before taking it out and stirring again. Heat for about 2 more minutes in 20-second bursts, until all melted evenly. It took us about 4 minutes’ total heating in the microwave for all the chocolate fountain chocolate to finish.
STOVETOP METHOD (medium difficulty).
For the stovetop double-boiler method of chocolate melting, you’ll need a large pot and a large glass bowl that fits atop the pot. Heat 2-3 inches of water on high in the pot, and once boiling, switch to low heat and place the bowl atop the pot, making sure it fits well enough that no steam can escape.
Add the chocolate and cream to your bowl, and over the next 10-15 minutes, stir the mixture until well-combined & the right viscosity. Once there are no more clumps, your chocolate is ready to be used, but be careful not to get any water inside or you may separate the mixture.
INSTANT POT METHOD (easy but slower).
To use an Instant Pot for chocolate fountain chocolate, you’re basically turning it into a double boiler. Start by pouring 2 cups of water into the bottom of the liner, then place a glass bowl on top, large enough to create a seal above the chocolate so that no steam can escape.
Then add your chocolate and cream, and set the Instant Pot to ‘Sauté’ on Normal. Your cream will heat and the chocolate will slowly lose its shape over the next 12-15 minutes. Once everything has melted, stir it well to ensure no air bubbles and the proper consistency; if it needs more cream, add it before taking the chocolate off.
Turn on ‘Keep Warm’ until you’re ready to add the chocolate to the fountain. Once all your chocolate is heated, don’t let it keep heating, as if it gets above 110°F/43°C it could warp the machine.
If your chocolate fountain chocolate looks smooth but still has a few little clumps here and there, let it sit for 30 seconds at room temperature, and then beating it well, until shiny; it’s not ready until 100% smooth (air bubbles are fine).
Best Chocolate Fountain Chocolate Brands
Valrhona offers some of the highest-quality melting chocolates in the world. Founded over 100 years ago in the Rhone Valley of France, the company is now known for its couverture chocolates, which contain higher proportions of fat in order to make them easier to work with when making truffles.
If you’re looking to make your own luxury chocolate fountain chocolate blend, choosing chocolate from Valrhona or another craft chocolate company will make for a great base. Beyond that, all you need to do is use high-quality cream or oil in your recipe.
My go-to in most grocery stores and any health food store is usually Guittard Chocolate, whose chocolate chips are available widely in Giant, Publix, Kroger, and Target locations across the nation.
There are no added oils, preservatives, or lecithins in a high quality chocolate such as Guittard, so you’ll choose well no matter the percentage you prefer. If you like a milk chocolate in your chocolate fountain, two bags of their milk chocolate chips would be my recommendation.
Alternately, try a couple bags of their ‘callets,’ a fancy word for the thin chocolate circles they sell in higher cacao percentages. With relatively more cocoa butter than chocolate chips, these are the ideal form of chocolate for chocolate fountain set up. They’re also often sold at Whole Foods.
If you’re looking to make a sugar-free chocolate fountain, Lily’s will be your best best for good flavor and meltability. Not only do Lily’s chips have pretty decent availability (at least in the US), they also use no sugar in their formulations, so they’re keto & diabetic-friendly.
Just note that due to the non-traditional sweeteners, you will need to use a bit more oil or cream when melting the chocolate, though this will only mellow the flavor further. Note that Lily’s has a milk chocolate version and a 55% dark chocolate.
Hu’s Chocolate Gems
One of the newest players on the market, you can find Hu’s Gems on Amazon, Thrive Market, and in most specialty organic stores. The brand uses certified organic and Fair Trade cocoa & cocoa butter to craft these gems, which are a bit bigger than your standard chocolate chip.
Even with the extra cocoa butter, however, you’ll still want to use a little extra oil or cream when melting chocolate for a chocolate fountain since it doesn’t already contain milk (fat).
If you have a bit of lead time before you need your chocolate, I’d recommend ordering a 3-pack of Hu’s Gems and getting excited. Just don’t get their chocolate chips, because they’re sweetened with dates and thus won’t melt very well.
Equal Exchange Chocolate
For a very long time, this was one of my go-to eating chocolates, great for munching on or satisfying a sweets craving without making me feel horrible afterwards. While Equal Exchange as a brand is known primarily for coffee, chocolate bars, and tea, they also have quite an impressive line of chocolate chips.
I recommend using their 55% dark chocolate chips for a much sweeter chocolate fountain chocolate, or check out the 70% dark for a bold chocolate flavor and lower sugar content. Just keep in mind that when using chocolate chips in chocolate fountains, you’ll need to use slightly more of your oil or cream.
Started in the 1980’s and still going strong with their worker-owned business model, Equal Exchange maintains fair trade with dozens of co-ops around the world, and I encourage you to do your own research into their fair farmer partnerships.
Pascha prides themselves on being one of the ‘most certified’ chocolate companies in the world, as all of their products are vegan, kosher, gluten-free, Rainforest Alliance, and organic chocolates. Phew! That’s a mouthful, but it boils down to darn good chocolate.
You’ll be glad to have a mouthful of Pascha, especially if you’ve got any allergies or intolerances. Their chocolates are fudgy and smooth, without most of the bitterness common in other brands. They even have a sugar-free version, but just keep in mind that when using chocolate chips, you should use slightly more oil or cream.
Another pick for sugar free chocolate fountain chocolate is GoodSam chocolate chips. However unlike Lily’s, I haven’t yet personally tried this product, so I can’t speak to its meltability. But GoodSam is a very new food company sourcing their cacao from Colombia, one of the native homes of cacao.
Their chocolates are focused on products that are good for you, good for farmers, and good for the planet, so all their bars and chocolate chips are sugar-free. Just be sure to use a little extra of your cream or oil when melting the chips, and be sure to use sugar-free dippables in your fountain.
For the allergy-conscious, these chocolate chips are free from the 14 most common allergens, and can be melted with any oil or cream you tolerate to melt chocolate fountain chocolate before your event. If not pressed for time, you can also buy from them directly.
Wilton’s Original Brand of Meltables
Wilton’s came out many years back with their own brand of chocolate fountains, and subsequently began selling chocolate confectionery they branded as ‘meltables’ that people could use in them. However these are listed last because I’d recommend using them only in an absolute pinch.
They’re marketed as being usable directly in a chocolate fountain, with no added oil, but they’re made up of almost half sugar with just a touch of chocolate liquor. Beyond that, they’re a German-owned company sourcing cacao from likely the same exploitative market that most manufacturers do.
But if you’re just looking for cheap chocolate fountain chocolate that’s easy to use. Wilton’s will do it for you.