Monday, June 30, 2008

Chocolate Girl

There's a commonly used adage "Don't believe everything you read on the internet". whilst this is clearly the case when it comes to emails from Nigeria, medical miracle cures and tips on bringing up babies, it is important to remember that there are plenty of things you should believe.

One such example is that the most pointless piece of household gadgetry you can own is a chocolate fountain machine. I recall reading the results of a survey some months ago that came to this conclusion, so when Lin said that her Mum had always wanted one I felt obliged to veto any attempt to buy one for her birthday. Clearly, this had not discouraged Jan, as when Robert Dyas had one on clearance at under a tenner, she snapped it up without hesitation.

The machine was duly unveiled at Sunday lunch yesterday, and carefully assembled without the aid of instructions (hence the giveaway price). The first thing to be aware of is that you have to fill the machine with a special type of chocolate (purchased separately) that has the correct viscosity when the fountain is operating at its normal temperature. Alternatively, you can use any chocolate of your choice, melt it and add an appropriate amount of oil to achieve the same consistency, but in the absence of any instructions we were unsure as to what sort of oil to use and how much to add - I guess it wouldn't have been Castrol GTX.

Having filled the bottom bowl the machine was powered up. With a gentle whirring noise, the chocolate was sucked out of the bottom and with Archimedean mechanics pushed to the top of the fountain whereupon it cascaded over a couple of concentric domes to complete its round trip to the bottom bowl, ready to start the process again. And that's it. I guess it would have been more impressive if the chocolate had fallen evenly around the fountain, but despite lots of tweaking with the screw-in feet and careful examination of a spirit level (not supplied) we couldn't stop the thing listing to one side. As a result it tended to fall down this side like rain pouring off a shop awning in high winds. Whilst most of the chocolate made it back to the bottom bowl, some splattered off course and invariably found its way onto Jan's top where it joined previously spilt specimens of the Sunday lunch in a scene reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock canvas

By now Emma had shown great interest in the fountain and was offering strawberries into the flow of chocolate. Of course, like any three year old, her attention and control were not of the required standard and before long her fist was buried in the fountain and chocolate was running down her arm to her elbow and onto whatever was beneath her - the table cloth, carpet, the cat.... Within a few minutes Emma looked like she had been bog snorkelling all morning

the worst part is cleaning up afterwards - I'm not sure whether this refers to the fountain or the people who happened to be in the same room when it was turned on, but I can imagine the thought of that would discourage people from getting it back out of the cupboard. Of course, as Jan suggested it could always be used as a fondue centrepiece, except appropriately, that was the runner-up in the survey.


PT said...

Tch! Typical. You just can't trust three year olds with chocolate fountains.

Mind you, it would appear that you can't trust their grandmother with one either. And that doesn't surprise me at all...

Jon Sandys said...

Jon's Theory of Chocolate Chaos:

Children + Chocolate = Mess

Children + Melted Chocolate = Mess²