Friday, 27 Mar, 2009 Offbeat
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Pizza-Making Vending Machine Developed in Italy

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The global economic crisis surely has shaken a lot of countries. In Italy, for example, people could soon witness the appearance of a vending machine that will bake a pizza in just 3 minutes and for a few euros. Surely the idea brought a few controversial opinions, mostly from the Italian chefs.

It is worth mentioning that the "Let's Pizza" vending machine uses infra-red rays. Its technology was developed by experts at the University of Bologna. The machine kneads flour and water into dough, and then spreads it with tomato sauce and a topping that the person chooses. Afterwards you just have to wait for three minutes and voila.

The engineer, who came up with the idea for a pizza-making machine, is the 56-year-old Claudio Torghele. He says the "Let's Pizza" proved to be quite popular when it was tested in two Italian regions. However, gourmets consider that the vending machine is an insult to traditional methods of making a pizza.

"It has windows where you can watch the pizza-making process. Kids, including my own, love it: when the machine is working, there's always a crowd," said Torghele.

"Let's Pizza" was created in cooperation with the Anglo-Dutch group Unilever, which carried out trials of the device in Germany. The developer hopes some day the machine will appear in other European countries and even in the United States. Its ingredients will vary depending on the local tastes.

Currently the machine offers four different toppings, including cheese and tomato, bacon, ham and fresh vegetables. Torghele considers that the average cost will be 4 euros, reports Reuters.

"If I want to eat a great pizza, I go to a pizzeria. But our product is satisfactory, low cost and available 24-hours a day. This is crisis proof ... McDonald's is increasing its sales. Low cost, fast food is in demand," he says.

Despite the fact that Italy is well-known for its cuisine and for a long time had a negative attitude towards fast food, it has the highest number vending machines than any other country in Europe.

According to purists, there should not be rush during the making of Italian pizza: the dough must be mixed and then left for 12 hours, all ingredients must be kept fresh, and the oven must be pre-heated to around 300 degrees.

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