Get a sweet tooth in Texas, and you can hit up the pecan pie vending machine. When you have a sudden need to celebrate, New Orleans can cater to you with a Champagne vending machine. But, aw shucks, what if you’re hit with an after-hours oyster craving?
Leave it to the French to come up with a solution to appeal to our inner Casanova, the 18th century romantic who was said to slurp 50 oysters for breakfast.
In France’s Île de Ré, an island off the country’s west coast, oyster lovers can indulge in the shellfish 24/7 thanks to the vending machine set up by oyster farmers Brigitte and Tony Berthelot. They found that customers were disappointed they couldn’t get oysters after closing time, according to The Local, a French publication. Already, the country has vending machines that sell fresh baguettes, so it seemed with a little engineering, oysters could be automatically dispensed, too.
We’ll pause for a moment to address the obvious. If you’ve ever received a flat soda from a vending machine or an expired candy bar, we know what you’re thinking: Is it even safe to serve seafood via a vending machine sans all the preservatives? To address that concern, the oysters will come in their shells, so buyers will need to shuck them themselves and the machine itself is much higher tech than the one in your office’s break room. Plus, the oysters are re-stocked daily, according to Food & Wine.
A video showing off the oyster vending machine explains exactly how they’re stored, which should assuage food-safety concerns. The refrigerated dispenser features glass panels so customers can see exactly what they’re buying.
A dozen oysters sell for about $8, which is the same cost the purveyor sells the oysters for when they’re open for business.
So far, it’s getting rave reviews from customers: “We can come at midnight if we want, if we have a craving for oysters. It’s excellent; they’re really fresh,” Christel Petinon, a 45-year-old client vacationing on the island, told Reuters.
Now, what do we have to do to get one of those oyster vending machines to the United States? (It would pair perfectly with that Champagne vending machine in the Big Easy.) C’mon France, don’t be shellfish!