Cleaning the Chocolate Fountain

T-day 2010 with the fountain in the kitchen

A chocolate fountain really adds “wow” factor to a party.  We’ve included a chocolate fountain in our holiday parties for several years now.  If you acknowledge up front that the massive amounts of chocolate are mostly going to be tossed out and that you ought to have an empty dishwasher when you put chocolate-coated parts in it to be cleaned, then you can enjoy the extravagant fun of serving a fountain of chocolate to your guests.

However, as I write, my chocolate fountain bowl is set on “warm” to melt the 80 ounces of chocolate that solidified when the fountain was turned off Thanksgiving night.  I have never done this before.  Every Thanksgiving, no matter how late, I don my rubber gloves, empty the chocolate, rinse the fountain parts in hot water, and load them into the dishwasher.  It must be done, because I have always feared the consequences of just turning off the fountain.  This year, alas, I was just too tired to deal with it.

But Thanksgiving was over a week ago!  I know, I know.  Here’s my excuse.  First of all, I staged the fountain down in the mancave this year.  So let’s just blame that on the Ravens game.   I thought the fountain should be where the people would be.  Usually the fountain is the star attraction on the kitchen island where it reigns over pumpkin pies, sugar cookies, and Vienna Cake, and also happens to be two feet from the sink and the dishwasher.   I made a strategic error in moving it downstairs.  People watching football do not dip into chocolate fountains.  They chug beer and hoot and holler.  And then, well, I forgot it was down there.  I guess I should just be glad someone turned the thing off at the end of the game.

Emily Margaret Reber on her birth-day

Then my daughter Julie had a baby.  Minor little family event.  NOT!!! Just kidding, Julie!!!  Emily Margaret Reber was born on Tuesday, weighing in at a perfect 8 lbs 1 ounce and measuring a perfect 21 and 1/4 inches.  Nothing will knock a chocolate fountain out of the forefront of your brain like a sweet new grandbaby who looks just like her daddy and makes faces just like her mommy.  Between spending time with her and attending to my teaching, I didn’t even get around to emailing her birth announcement, so you can imagine how far back in my brain thoughts of the chocolate fountain have been.  As it is, Julie is going to be annoyed that Emily isn’t getting a full post like her cousin John did and she’s going to add this to the list of things that she will never do as a mother, like not taking pictures of the third child and accidentally throwing away her Christmas stocking.

Anyway, there’s a time commitment involved with melting eighty ounces of chocolate on “warm.”  This requires the weekend.  I designate Sunday as fountain clean-up day.

I’ll carry the fountain up to the kitchen and melt the chocolate up there, where it will be easier to clean up the mess.

If I turn it on right after church, it might be melted by dinner time.  Sunday was a little rough, though.  I had a lot of trouble focusing on the sermon (could someone please explain what the video clip about Cinderella’s lost slipper had to do with the geneology of Jesus?).  I came home and immediately passed out for a long nap.

My first thought upon awakening was, “Crap!  The fountain!”  I dashed to the mancave to discover a fountain full of melted chocolate.

“I did my part,” says John.  “I melted the chocolate for you.  Now you can do the rest.”

Thanks, John, for turning a knob.

The good news is that it worked.  Engantée*  in one-use plastic gloves, I ladled the chocolate into a disposable container and then loaded all the fountain parts into a plastic bag to carry up to the dishwasher where they are now being liberated from their chocolate coating.  Using the technique I learned from our school nurse in our annual blood-bourne pathogen seminar, I slipped off the gloves without getting any chocolate on my hands.

The bad news is that it worked.  Now I’ll never be able to convince my helpers to give once last push of energy to clean the fountain.  I can hear them now, “Just turn it off, Mom, and deal with it in December like you did last year.”


Engantée–to have gloves on. (Sorry, but it’s just better in French.)