Oyster Vending Machine – Ars-en-Ré, France - Gastro Obscura
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Oyster Vending Machine

Ars-en-Ré, France

For those late-night mollusk cravings. 


There are a wide variety of oyster shops on France’s Île de Ré, but none of them stay open throughout the night. Fortunately for anyone craving a midnight mollusk, there’s a vending machine in town that serves up the slimy delicacy at any hour, offering dozens of oysters, 24/7.

Yes, you heard that right, an oyster vending machine. The self service shell seller was started by Brigitte and Tony Berthelot, who had been oyster farmers on the French island since 1987 and saw a market for late-night oysters.

The oysters in the vending machine come in packages of two- to five-dozen at a cost of 6.90 euro ($8.06) per dozen, the same price as the Berthelot’s adjoining shop. Payment is as simple as inserting your credit card and opening the stainless steel locker.

But oysters alone don’t cut it—the Berthelot’s do their best to ensure that anyone can get a full meal from the vending machine if they feel so inclined. In addition to oysters, the lockers offer commodities like paté and sea asparagus. Leave it to the French to go the extra culinary mile, even in the vending machines.

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