Who doesn’t love a big old melty pot of fondue this time of year? This much-loved dish (well, pot, really) of melted Gruyere and Emmentaler saw it’s prime in the 1970’s, and still holds a special place in any curdophiles heart. But how did the melty stuff become so popular?
NPR’s economics podcast Planet Money got curious about the origins of fondue, and found…a super-secret cheese cartel. That’s right! Essentially this cabal controlled which producers could make certain cheeses, and at what price they could sell those cheeses. Plus we get to hear from a rogue cheesemaker who continued to make traditional Swiss cheeses (Sbrinz, in particular) in the face of mafia-like control. This is riveting radio for cheese fans.