Fallingfor chocolate

Published on Thu, Dec 23, 2004 by ack Kintner

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Falling for chocolate

By Jack Kintner

It’s a chocoholic’s dream, seeing 20 pounds of the finest Belgian chocolate cascading down a five-tiered fountain. It’s also one of Blaine’s newest businesses, called Fallin’ For Chocolate.

Owner Kari Malone began toting her $4,000 stainless steel chocolate fountain around to receptions, openings, anniversaries and the like last September after hearing about a friend’s experience doing the same thing in her native Texas. Since then it’s have fountain, will travel.

Last week she was in Bellingham at an annual customer appreciation night at the Zazen Salon Spa. She arrived a little over an hour before the function began, loading several cases of equipment and plastic tubs of supplies out of her SUV into a tiny niche in the back of the store, where owner Rene Huston had her set up.

The fountain is basically a large hotplate kept just warm enough to keep the chocolate flowing. A four-foot vertical pipe stands in the middle, lifting the heated chocolate much like a grain auger to the top where it overflows down over a succession of inverted bowls back down to the bottom.

Malone uses Belgian chocolate, she said, because it comes with its own oil mixed in. “Otherwise you have to mix it in yourself to keep things flowing smoothly, and it’s never as good,” Malone said. She gets her chocolate – Sephra’s “Montezuma” brand - in five-pound bags that she pre-heats in a microwave at home. “I can do it all in the machine but it takes a lot longer,” she said. The machine needs 25 pounds of chocolate, worth anywhere from $70 to $100. Customers are offered pastries or, in this case, strawberries to swirl in the curtains of rich chocolate that drape the machine while it’s running.

The smell seemed to draw customers from all over the room, dipping their skewered berries tentatively at first. As they got the hang of it each seemed to develop just the right technique, as different from one another as roasting marshmallows over a campfire.

Malone operates out of her Blaine home. For prices and more information, contact her at 360/410-7098, or at fallinforchocolate@yahoo.com.