Missed the shops? Fancy a steak tartare at 4am? A spontaneous fondue? No problem! There's bound to be just the vending machine for you in Switzerland.
Photo: The Local
Sausages, bacon, chops and other raw meat are all available from this vending machine on the main road in the village of Kandersteg in the canton of Bern, perfect fodder for an impromptu barbecue on a Sunday when the supermarket is closed.
Photo: The Local
If you prefer your raw meat in a ready-to-eat format, don't worry! Since 2014 fans of steak tartare in the canton of Vaud can get hold of this classic dish at any hour of the day thanks to Tout Cru, the initiative of a local butcher, Michel Pahud, who has set up eight vending machines in the Lausanne area to dispense it.
Pahud claims the meat (which is 100 percent Swiss, naturally) only stays in the machine for a maximum of four days, and an alarm will go off if the temperature rises above a certain level.
"People are curious" when they see the machines, Pahud told The Local, and the business is going well enough that he plans to expand to other parts of Switzerland.
This one's location at a petrol station (above) is designed especially for those who just need to satisfy a raw meat urge on the hoof.
Cheese on the go. Photos: Ferme des Trontieres/Barbara Collins
When you're in Switzerland, it's never good to run out of cheese. Luckily, a number of Swiss farmers are providing for the cheese needs of the population with dedicated vending machines.
At one family farm in the Valais you can pop along 24/7 and punch in the number for a slab of their award-winning Raclette. Speaking to The Local, Mme Berclaz from the Ferme des Trontieres said the farm shop wasn't open all the time so the refrigerated vending machine was a useful service for customers “who can come at any moment” to pick up a portion of Raclette.
Meanwhile the Stuzenegger cheese shop in Wigoltingen in the canton of Thurgau is one of many ensuring that customers will never be without the means to make a fondue by selling bags of fondue mix in their new vending machine.
Fondue is the “Swiss cheese dish for every season, for every day and night, and in any weather!” they proclaim. And now they've made that possible. Phew.
Photo: Claire Doble
Why stop at cheese? This farm in St Gallenskappel in eastern Switzerland has opened a vending machine (above) to sell its farm-fresh products including potatoes, eggs, dried fruit, honey and its own brandy.
If you've forgotten a friend's birthday, just head to the machine and pick up a Raclette cheese gift set; while if you're all out of firewood, they even sell that too. It's the ultimate vending machine for Swiss living.
Many other farms in Switzerland do this, including the Katzenrüti farm in Zurich which even dispenses jams from its handy vending machine (below). Having not tried it ourselves, we're not quite sure how the jars don't break when they fall to the bottom of the machine, but we're sure they've got it covered.
Photo: Emily Mawson