But fondue is enjoying a boom thanks to a combination of nostalgia, comfort eating and the trend for sharing meals.
Even Brexit is a factor in the rebirth of the classic dinner party favourite, according to a top psychologist.
Professor Charles Spence has analysed the reasons behind the revival which has trebled sales of fondue sets over the last two years.
Fondue – dunking bread into melted cheese or meat into hot oil – was invented by the Swiss to warm up cold winter nights.
Nowadays the special long forks used for dipping are part of the attraction in an age where it is trendy to find alternatives to normal crockery and cutlery, said Professor Spence.
The experimental psychologist, based at Oxford University, listed various factors behind the resurgence in a report for the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science.
He said: “Dipping chunks of bread into a pot of bubbling cheese and wine or the pieces of meat into bubbling hot oil is not, after all, exactly anyone’s notion of healthy.
“Nor is fondue an especially photogenic dish either, so, again, off trend as far as the growth of more Instagramable dishes is concerned.”
“On the other hand, it does fit with the trend toward sharing plates.”
This was also evident in the rise of similar styles of meal including Mediterranean meze and sharing plates that encourage sociability, he said.
Nostalgia among middle aged, middle class Britons was another factor, as was the desire for comfort food across all age groups.
But then there could be political reasons too. “It may link to current concerns about global insecurity since the fondue can be considered as something of a nostalgic dish for some and a comfort food for many,” he said.
“The origins of the fondue in a country that lies just outside the EU but which manages to maintain good economic/political relations may also be relevant given current debate about how Brexit will play out.
“At a time when the UK is figuring out if and how to separate from the rest of Europe, this nostalgic food originates from a part of Europe that stands outside the European Union but is still connected.”
He said that is in much the way that many in the UK hope to achieve.
He added perhaps, then, the fondue craze can partly be explained by Britons “trying, implicitly or otherwise, to convey an impression, or identity, through the food we eat of the future we would like for ourselves.”