The Melted Chocolate Hack That's Ideal For Spring Picnics

When selecting savory foods for a picnic, you can prepare sandwiches in advance or opt for the simple perfection of a baguette and cheese. With sweets, though, things get tricky. The elements that make dining outdoors so enjoyable — sunshine and fresh air — can quickly melt and destroy desserts, especially fragile treats like ice cream, custard, and buttercream- or whipped cream-frosted cakes. Fortunately, TikTokers such as @miaivybuxton are sharing a viral dessert idea that can make the most of the situation.


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♬ Praise Jah In The Moonlight – YG Marley

Rather than fight against nature, lean into it for a deliciously melty dessert, inspired by a retro food that is due for a comeback: chocolate fondue. All you need to do is bring a chocolate bar in a container, then set it in direct sunlight while you eat your savory meal. Make sure to remove the wrapper before melting and place the bar on level ground, so that chocolate doesn't spill onto your picnic blanket. 

By the time you're ready for something sweet, the bar will be slightly or entirely melted, and you can swipe cookies, fruits, and more right across the surface for a delicious chocolate coating. Fresh strawberries are a classic pairing, but the possibilities are virtually endless.

The right temperature for melting chocolate

This hack couldn't be easier to try, but it does require a little planning in anticipation of the picnic — specifically, you'll need to check the weather. As a rule of thumb, it must be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside for your dessert to work. It is at this temperature that chocolate starts to soften, though the melting point tends to fall between 86 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and varies based on the type of chocolate. 

It is possible that your chocolate will still melt if left in bright, direct sunlight on a cooler day, as sunny spots will obviously be much warmer. Since our body temperature is at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, you also can speed up the process by holding the wrapped bar between your hands. However, you definitely don't want to try this instant fondue on a cloudy or cool day. Aim for at least 80 degrees F and you should be good as gold.

For a fun and flavorful fondue experience, bring a variety of chocolate bars to your picnic, including dark, milk, and white chocolate. The rate at which chocolate melts depends on the quantity of cocoa butter in the bar. Dark chocolate contains the most cocoa and least cocoa butter, and therefore has the highest melting point, while both milk and white chocolate will soften relatively quickly in a warm setting.

How to host a chocolate fondue picnic

For the best picnic experience, you'll want to come prepared with plenty of dipping ingredients. If you're in the mood for fruit and dig chocolate strawberries, branch out with other berries, as well as grapes, apples, melons, and even tropical fruits like mango and pineapple. You can also layer fruit into delicious s'mores for a nostalgic yet fresh eating experience. Try assembling your s'mores, then leave them in the sun to melt both the chocolate and marshmallow. Alternatively, skip the fruit and just dip marshmallows and graham crackers into the melted chocolate.

Other great dippers for chocolate fondue include cookies like Oreos or vanilla wafers; bites of pound cake or brownies; or even the potato chips that accompany your sandwiches. Try skewering your ingredients first and then rolling in the melted chocolate for a slightly more neat and sophisticated approach. Whatever the case, be sure to have something on hand to wash it all down, like a bottled French 75, the ultimate picnic cocktail.

Whether you opt for finger food or skewers, things are still likely to get messy. For an eco-friendly picnic, pack some cloth napkins and a reusable water bottle filled with water to wash your hands before heading home.