Baguette vending machine

A baguette vending machine in France. This is an older model that doesn't actually cook the bread on the spot. Photo by davitydave.

The term “daily bread” takes on a whole new meaning when you associate it with the French, who eat about half a baguette per person per day. That might not sound like a lot, but consider that a standard baguette is two feet long, and you’ll quickly understand that bread is practically a food group in France.

In fact, baguettes are such a part of the daily routine in France that McDonalds is set to add a McBaguette to its French menu in the hopes of attracting a bigger breakfast crowd.

But perhaps the biggest indication of the bread obsession is the introduction of baguette vending machines in Paris.

Invented by a local baker who found he had to turn away disappointed customers at the end of the day when the fresh bread was all sold out and he was about to shut his boulangerie, the machines are designed to spit out hot baguettes 24/7.

How does this magic happen? First, semi-cooked loaves are inserted onto racks within the machine. When a customer makes their selection on the vending machine’s screen, an oven inside collects a loaf and completes the cooking process to bring the baguette to a state of hot, crunchy perfection.

Amazingly, this process takes less than a minute. Even more amazingly, it only costs 1 euro. The smell of piping hot bread is thrown in for free.

In a country where late night supermarkets are rare (and those that exist sell supposedly inferior, non-artisanal bread – quelle horreur!), shops close on weekends and the whole country closes down for vacation during the month of August, a baguette vending machine is sure to fare well.

So far, there are only two machines, one in Paris and the other in Hombourg-Haut in north-eastern France, but we predict this bread trend is sure to rise (pun intended).

 

Want to see what it’s like? Check out this video of the baguette vending machine in action:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpWZk3ucWrw&w=550&h=390]