Curiosity got the best of us tonight. Over the last year, we have passed the slot dozens of times. Every time we said, “Before we leave, we have GOT to try this.” What is it? It’s the distributeur automatique de pizza (automated pizza dispenser) that is located across the road from us at the Forno Presto pizza parlor.
On our apartment street, cours Jean Jaurès, there are many pizzerias, but this pizzeria does a traditional respectable business selling pizzas, sandwiches, calzones, and boissons (drinks) and has a very limited indoor or outdoor seating area. But it was here that we found something we have never seen at any pizza joint in town—a self-service pizza dispenser that is featured next to their shop’s front entrance. Think of it: hot pizza available 24/7 with the choice of cheese or jambon (ham) and cheese. It was begging to be explored. So we did.
We must admit we have never worked harder to procure a pizza. After deciding to forgo the ham, we had to agonize over whether to take it chaud (hot) or froid (cold), where I guess you cook it yourself. We went for the chaud. After a few attempts, we managed to place the order and pay by CB (carte bancaire, aka debit card). The countdown began, and we focused on the digital timer, as our patient vigilance outside by the machine at the same time that the inside pizzeria was obviously amused the passersby. It’s amazing how long three and a half minutes can seem when you’re not quite sure what to expect (and are hungry). We kept our expectations low and were not disappointed; never having been fans of frozen pizzas, we imagined this could be the French equivalent of the cardboard-box pizza garnished with cheese and pepperoni.
Enfin (finally), the pizza was ready and popped out of the slot! Steve caught it on its way out, and I tried to peek inside to see if little French elfes (elves) were working away within to satisfy Grenoble’s passion for round Italian flattened bread with toppings. I could have sworn I saw them scurrying away!
We took it back to the apartment and gingerly lifted the lid. Pas mal (not bad). It wouldn’t hold a candle to our favorite hometown pizza, but for something that comes out of a time portal and is baked by pixies, it was worth a try. Who knows? It just might endow us with some magical powers now that we’ve unlocked the mysteries behind the enchanted pizza door.