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Welsh Chocolate Fountains

Oh So Perfect had the pleasure of interviewing the ‘Willy Wonka of Wales’ – Andrew Bowen of Welsh Chocolate Fountains. Here’s what Andrew had to say about the most popular chocolate treat in Wales…

Hi Andrew! Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by Oh So Perfect – Weddings and Events. Tell us a little bit more about Welsh Chocolate Fountains, such as what you do?

Hi! Welsh Chocolate Fountains provide a delicious chocolate fountain for all the wedding guests to enjoy at their convenience. 

The chocolate fountain can flow when ever the bride wants it to flow. Some choose to have it flowing in the afternoon to keep their guests busy and fed prior to the wedding breakfast, whilst the bride and groom are busy having all the photos taken, but most brides choose to have the fountain flow in the evening because there are normally more guests at the evening party and this way nobody misses out on the chocolate fountain.

You’ve been serving weddings since 2006 – what areas of Wales does your service typically cover?

Welsh Chocolate Fountains was set up in March of 2006 in Llanelli but we have provided fountains for hundreds of weddings all over Wales. Most of our work comes from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire and Swansea. 

What sort of style wedding or event do you feel Welsh Chocolate Fountains suits best?

Our chocolate fountains will suit any style of wedding because the underlying fact is that people love chocolate! Also, our fountains are set-up on an illuminated base and surround which has a range of colours so it can be set to match the colour of the bride’s colour scheme. 

That’s very useful! Would you say the colour changing base is your unique selling point?

Lots of other companies have an illuminated surround but most of them do not have the illuminated base to go with the surround so the fountain is set-up on a table. Our combined surround and base make a stunning stand alone centrepiece and I believe that it looks much better than a fountain on a table.

Are the guests able to help themselves to the chocolate or is there a service attendant provided?

Our chocolate attendants can serve the guests, so there is no need for concerns about chocolate being splashed everywhere! But more importantly this method prevents guests picking  food items up with their bare fingers. Myself and staff have been trained in food safety/hygiene at Swansea College. 

And you’ve even been awarded recently for your service haven’t you?

On November 20th 2011 Welsh Chocolate Fountains won the award for the ‘Best Wedding Service in West Wales’ at the first ever Welsh National Wedding Awards!

Congratulations! How did that achievement make you and your staff feel?

For a few months prior to the event brides were asked to nominate and vote for companies in Wales who had helped make their special day an ‘extra’ special day, and I was very humbled and honoured that we won the award. I would like to thank everyone who voted for us as we were up against some very good competition…

I expect you were. So what do you think makes you stand out against other chocolate fountain providers in the region?

I am very much a people person and I am also very understanding of how massively important and how stressful a wedding is to the Bride and Groom so I aim to provide a totally stress free and friendly service to my customers. Being polite to each and every guest is also very important to me and I think this shows with the reviews that have been left for our company on Google.

I’m sure the quality of chocolate you use plays a big part in your popularity too?

I ensure extremely high standards of cleanliness, and freshness of my dipping items, plus I only use delicious Belgian chocolate!  Having high standards means that I sometimes loose work to companies who undercut me, but I don’t compromise on the quality of the products I use as not all chocolate tastes the same and good quality chocolate is very expensive.

Tell us a bit more about this ‘luxury’ Belgian chocolate that you use, and why it is so perfect for use in your chocolate fountain…

There is one myth about chocolate fountains that I would like to clear up – I get asked at most weddings, “How much oil do you put in the fountain to make the chocolate flow?” Welsh Chocolate Fountains do not add oil to our chocolate because the chocolate we use is fountain ready. We use a ‘couverture’ chocolate which means that it contains more than 32% cocoa butter solids and because of this there is no need to add any oil to the chocolate to enable it to flow smoothly.

People get confused because when they are using chocolate bars from the supermarkets in their home fountains, their fountains will not flow unless they add vegetable oil to it – this is because the chocolate they are using has a low cocoa butter content.

With Welsh Chocolate Fountains being a very popular name in Welsh weddings and events, I expect you’ve served a few celebrities too?

We have provided chocolate fountains at three Welsh rugby union international players’ weddings: Dwayne Peel, Richard Hibbard and Gavin Evans. I have enjoyed every single wedding we have been at as I really enjoy meeting people and there is always a star at every wedding even though they may not be recognised internationally. 

All well known Welsh icons no doubt!

We have had many celebrities eat from our chocolate fountains but I get the most pleasure and satisfaction when you meet someone like a granny or a child who has a look of total amazement on their face when the come into the room and see the chocolate fountain for the first time and then the look of delight on their face when they taste the chocolate. 

So did you set up Welsh Chocolate Fountains because you love the chocolate or the guests you provide it to?

It makes me very proud knowing that I am providing a service that brings pleasure, happiness and satisfaction to so many people all at once, it is not just the bride & groom who enjoy the service we provide but everyone at the wedding. 

But surely the chocolate plays a little part…?

Yes, I am a big chocolate lover and I know that people love chocolate!

Was that part of the motivation for you to provide a chocolate fountain service to other chocolate lovers too?

Whilst coming to the end of my career in The Royal Navy I attended a function in Florida and there was a chocolate fountain there. I was amazed at how popular it was so I did a lot of research and when I left the Royal Navy I bought all the equipment, did some courses and set-up my company, Welsh Chocolate Fountains. I started the company without a single booking and I could not sleep for the first six months of trading, worrying that I had spent over £20,000 on equipment and that it was going to be a flop. After attending some wedding fayres and setting up my website the phone started to ring and the bookings started to come in… 

Well it certainly paid off!

It did! Five years down the line we are growing stronger each year and we have just won our first award for the Best Wedding Service in West Wales at The Welsh National Wedding Awards.

For anyone  yet to be convinced… can you describe your chocolate fountains in three words?

Delicious, clean and friendly!

Good answer! And finally, Andrew, what do you think makes a wedding Oh So Perfect…?

A chocolate fountain from Welsh Chocolate Fountains will make your wedding Oh So Perfect!!! People Love Chocolate!!!

Welsh Chocolate Fountains will be exhibiting their fountain for you to have a taste at a two-day wedding extravaganza being held at The Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli on the 7th & 8th January.

In the meantime you can visit their website for more photos, and information on the full chocolate fountain treatment, and to make your booking! www.welshchocolatefountains.com

Need help planning your hen party or wedding day? Visit www.ohsoperfect.co.uk for our full list of wedding planning and coordination services and packages.

Would you like to be featured as a recommended supplier? Contact Oh So Perfect – Weddings and Events on enquiries@ohsoperfect.co.uk

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