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  • - [Narrator] Fondue.

  • It's this thing we do with cheese.

  • We melt it.

  • We dip it.

  • We eat it.

  • In the '70s, it became super popular.

  • But that didn't just happen by chance.

  • There was an ominous force behind it,

  • a real-life cheese cartel.

  • (dramatic music)

  • 100 years ago, cheese was a hot commodity in Switzerland.

  • It was exported at high volumes

  • and played a major role in the Swiss economy.

  • But that all changed after World War I.

  • European countries, devastated by the war,

  • could no longer afford to buy expensive, imported cheese,

  • which was bad news for Switzerland.

  • So the government stepped in,

  • and they formed The Cheese Union.

  • Basically, it was a cartel,

  • and it worked like this.

  • The first thing they did

  • was force every dairy farmer and cheesemonger

  • to fix the price of cheese, eliminating competition,

  • meaning everyone could stay in the game.

  • The cheese cartel also told them

  • exactly how much cheese to make and limited the varieties.

  • So instead of making thousands of different kinds of cheese,

  • they only made seven.

  • And it worked.

  • The cartel controlled the cheese supply for decades.

  • By the '70s, they got greedy

  • and wanted to expand their cheese racket globally.

  • So they introduced the world to a dish

  • already popular in the freezing cold Alps, fondue.

  • By marketing cheese for fondue,

  • the cartel was able to sell more.

  • I mean, think about it.

  • It takes a lot, and I mean a lot, of cheese

  • to fill a pot.

  • But, as with most cartels, things got shady.

  • Money went missing.

  • People went to jail.

  • And by the 1990s, the Swiss Cheese Union was dismantled.

  • So, there you have it.

  • The reason we know and love fondue

  • is because of a shady government program

  • that convinced the world to consume massive amounts

  • of melted cheese.

- [Narrator] Fondue.

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B1 US GreatBigStory cheese cartel fondue shady swiss

You Can Thank This Cartel for Fondue

  • 5 0
    luna.chou posted on 2020/03/04
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