@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Beware, The Chocolate Fountain
We had our annual holiday tradition of my mom’s side of the family gathering early this year. Some people are not a fan of Christmas and I assume it’s because they don’t like their family. Seeing my kin is one of the many reasons, if not the top reason, I love the season. While our holiday gathering grow smaller in size due to people moving around the country, they are no less fun than they used to be in the days of yore.
And the parties are actually becoming more fun as my siblings and cousins have little ones. Watching them play and relish in the holiday spirit is as sweet as it is entertaining. At this year’s George (my mom’s maiden name) Christmas, my Aunt Barbara brought a chocolate fountain for dessert.
Now, despite her good intention to bring some joy to the adults and kids alike, I suspected this would be trouble. For I have a history with chocolate fountains.
Years ago, as a teenager, I worked in a catering hall— The Venetian Yacht Club (formerly John Anthony’s on the water) in Babylon. It’s a job I don’t miss. As the catering world is… well… let’s just say unhealthy. This was an “upper class” establishment. The staff wore tuxedos that were extremely uncomfortable as running back and forth from the kitchen to the floor of banquet made you sweat incessantly. Additionally, even though I was 17 I weighed under 90lbs and I could probably fit two of me in the jacket I was forced to wear. Besides some of my co-workers who were as funny and weird as I was, I truly despised that job.
Anyway, some parties had Venetian hours. A Venetian hour for those who don’t know is an hour of an insane amount of desserts from cake to pastry’s, fruits, crepes that were lit on fire with amaretto, cookies, ice cream… you name it. It took a lot of extra work for the catering team with little time to do it. We always only barely pulled it off. Of course, in the center of it all was a giant chocolate fountain.
Who doesn’t love a chocolate fountain? Cascading warm chocolate, filling the air with the heavenly smell of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Though, I will caution you, this is a false dream.
We, the teen-aged crew of broke kids with budding alcohol problems (some already had full blown drinking problems and we all drank on the job for the most part) who didn’t really give a fuck were in charge of setting up the chocolate fountain. This is no easy task. Because it takes a while for the chocolate to both heat up and flow, and as I said before, we had little time to do so. We’d churn it and churn it which helped but that wasn’t our secret. Our secret? Pour tons of oil into the already super cheap chocolate chips. And when I say tons, I mean it was basically a 50/50 ratio of chocolate and oil. Which is absolutely disgusting. But it was literally the only way we could get it to function in the short window we had to set it up. So, yeah, you might as well be dipping your marshmallow in straight vegetable oil.
Look, I’m sure if you went to a Godiva store or something that chocolate fountain would be made proper with quality chocolate. However, if you’re at a wedding and see a chocolate fountain, you should consider how gross it is.
Back to my family party. My aunt was assembling the mini chocolate fountain. The directions did say allow on hour to heat up. While waiting, we exchanged presents and made ready the other desserts. Eventually, the chocolate fountain started to sort of work. Instead of cascading like a waterfall, it was plopping out, as my nephew said, “it looks like poop.” He was not wrong. No, we did not use copious amounts of oil to make it work. We tried stirring it, which helped a little, but the fountain never did flow properly. Still, the kids loved it and made a proper mess on their faces and the floor. In that respect, you can say it was a success. Afterwards, the kids ran around in their sugar rush, frolicking in the spirit of Christmas and divine sweets. So, thanks Aunt Barbara. Though it wasn’t a total success, it gave us many laughs.