America’s first “pizza ATM” was making all the headlines last week (despite not really being an ATM at all), but San Francisco has shown that Italian fare isn’t the only cuisine that can be co-opted for American use in vending machine form. The Bay Area recently became the first city in the US to get its hands on a device that’s been popular in France for a while: a baguette vending machine.
Le Bread Xpress already operates its machines in France, Russia, the UK and China. Now, the brand has expanded into San Francisco, meaning some lucky California residents will be privy to getting their hands on a $4.25 baguette spit out “fresh” in 20 second flat. “Fresh” gets the quotation mark treatment because the machine doesn’t make its baguettes from scratch. Instead, a nearby bakery gets the dough rising and parbakes the loaves before they are loaded into the machine. Once a customer pays, the machine finishes the baking process.
Still, company founder Benoit Herve says his breads are authentic. “It’s a French recipe from a French baker,” he told KPIX news. The brand also insists that ready-to-cook baguettes are put into the machine throughout the day, so the bread that comes out hot into your hands should never have been started more than two hours earlier.
The first of these fancy machines is already up and running at The Myriad market, with more apparently on their way. Someone nearby better get a sourdough bread vending machine going ASAP, lest the city’s signature bread get beaten out by the convenience of getting near-instant fresh baguettes. Or maybe even better, why not a machine that bakes fresh bread bowls and then spits warm clam chowder into the center. I smell a clam-scented Kickstarter waiting to happen.