If you're on a summer holiday in France, the majority of your diet probably consists of fresh seafood. It is, after all, a delicacy, whether you're digging into bouillabaisse or escargot. Just because seafood is a classic, however, doesn't mean the French are afraid of going avant-garde with their cuisine.
On the Île de Ré, a small island on the west coast, you will find a 24-hour oyster vending machine. Meaning, instead of chips and chocolate bars, out pops a basket of delicious seafood. Although the idea sounds pretty suspect, the French wouldn't do you wrong on the food front.
Created by the owners of the beloved local oyster shop , Brigitte and Tony Berthelot wanted their customers to have access to the freshest seafood, even after-hours.
"People always arrive when the shop door is closed, which is frustrating for customers and for us," Tony . "So we looked at what was being done in agriculture, because there are many distributors in the countryside. We ed a manufacturer who responded and who fitted a machine for oysters."
Sold at about $8 per dozen, the machine is stocked with fresh oysters daily — and they're all sold closed, so you don't run the risk of getting sick. You do, however, need to shuck them yourself, which in our opinion is a small price to pay for a late-night seafood fix.
If you know you'll want to pick up some oysters in a few hours, you can place an order while the store is still open via text message, and you'll be sent a code that you can enter into the vending machine when you arrive! Plus, ordering in advance opens up your options to tasty additions like sea asparagus and pâté.
If you don't have an impromptu trip to this glamorous French island on the calendar, let's just hope that the vending machine craze in the States (like the Moët machine below!) branches out instant fresh seafood ASAP.