Fondue's popularity in the '70s was a lie. A big, fat, Swiss lie!
Fondue -- like turtlenecks and key parties (ask your parents) -- hit peak popularity in the mid-'70s, and even though chain restaurants like The Melting Pot keep the shared-cheesy spirit alive in modern America, it's hard to grasp just how hip fondue parties were unless you lived through the disco years. The brutal truth? Fondue is, at its sticky heart, a marketing machine doctored by a vastly influential group of cheesemakers from Switzerland. Welcome, to the real world (of cheese collusion).
Have you ever heard of the Swiss Cheese Union? It's not an uninspired, cheese-centric hip-hop collective, it's a legion of cheesemakers who banded together shortly after WWI, when cheese consumption was at an all-time low, to fix prices, reduce supply, limit the types of cheeses that were legal to make, and strong-arm any smaller operations to either acquiesce or get the hell out of the cheese business in mafia-esque fashion. Basically, they made Swiss cheese great again.
In combination with deep-seated levels of government collaboration, and an orchestrated marketing push that made fondue seem like the hottest thing for swingers since the advent of the water bed, fondue became a worldwide sensation.
And no, I'm not fucking with you.
Truth-O-Meter: Definitely true, and well documented