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Flowing chocolate

A Columbia business specializes in providing an elegant, decadent treat for any occasion
Wednesday, August 4, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:48 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Just when you thought that chocolate could not get any better, here comes the newest craze in the entertainment and catering business — chocolate fountains. This delicious idea has swept the nation and is taking the place of ice sculptures and centerpieces at social gatherings.

This chocolate fantasy hit Columbia in January when Rose and Frank LaMantia opened LaMantia’s Chocolate Fountain, 1406 N. Countryshire Drive.

“Anyone who wants chocolate, we’ll take care of it,” said Frank LaMantia, “It’s just so fun.”

And how couldn’t it be? Their family-owned business has served a wide variety of events in the Missouri area, including weddings and business and birthday parties.

Leslie Ehler, a front desk coordinator for ProDental dentist office had the opportunity to try some of the chocolate flowing from the LaMantia’s fountain for a staff Valentine’s Day celebration in February.

Ehler’s description of the chocolate was nothing less than perfection.

“It was absolutely one of the most elegant displays I’ve ever seen,” Ehler said. “The chocolate was so tasty, and I have recommended the LaMantias to several of my friends.”

The 29-inch-high, stainless steel fountain has three tiers with an auger as a spindle inside that moves the chocolate up and out of the machine. This allows 20 pounds of white, dark or milk chocolate to cascade down all three tiers.

The LaMantia family recently had to purchase another fountain and plans to add a third, smaller fountain to meet the demands of its customers.

“It’s just amazing what it can do,” Frank LaMantia said, “and the chocolate is out of this world.”

They use Callebaut Belgium chocolate, which has proven to run smoothly with the fountains.

“We have gotten so many compliments on the texture of the chocolate, it’s unbelievable,” Frank LaMantia said.

To rent a fountain for your next event, one must book fairly far in advance, Frank LaMantia said. “We are booked ... with so many weddings and events.”

Along with the fountain, customers receive an attendant in black-tie attire, 20 pounds of the chocolate of their choice, 250 skewers, set-up and clean-up services and a decorated presentation table to match the colors and themes of the particular event.

“This (task) is my wife Rose’s baby. She matches the table skirt to the color scheme of a wedding ... she handles it all,” Frank LaMantia said.

While the food is not included in LaMantia’s services, their chocolate fountains have allowed area catering services to increase their sales as well.

“This is a new thing for the catering companies, so we are both benefiting from events,” he said.

Customers can rent the chocolate fountains for three hours for $400, providing that each additional hour or pound of chocolate increases the initial price.

LaMantia’s Chocolate Fountain is located at 1406 N. Countryshire Drive. For additional information, contact the LaMantias at 445-1508 or at www.lamantias.com.

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