Why one French town is buying 15,000 eggs in time for Easter

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Why one French town is buying 15,000 eggs in time for Easter
Volunteers crack eggs at the Bessières event in 2014. All photos: AFP

Locals in one town in south west France are busily buying 15,000 eggs for their annual Easter tradition - a giant omelette.


Every year on Easter Monday the town of Bessières in the Haut-Garonne département in south west France celebrates by cooking up a giant omelette that the whole community can enjoy.

The tradition apparently harks back to the days of Napoleon and has become one of France's most well recognised quirky ceremonies.


Every year around 50 volunteers crack the 15,000 eggs into a giant pot.

They then add several kilos of duck fat and a fair amount of salt, pepper and the local piment d'Espelette pepper to the giant pot, which measures around four metres in diameter.

Cooking time is generally between 30 to 40 minutes – slightly longer than your average omelette, which is understandable given the size.

Then omelette is distributed to the thousands who turn up every year to witness the spectacle. 

The odd tradition has been running since 1973, when the town's shopkeepers decided to create the "Brotherhood of the omelette".

The brotherhood, which is tasked with ensuring the tradition lives on, grows every year.

According to legend  the tradition is believed to be in recognition of when Napoleon Bonaparte and his army once spent the night near the town.

After eating (and evidently very much enjoying) an omelette made by a local innkeeper, Napoleon ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village to make a gigantic omelette for his army to eat the next day. 

Anyone who the locals feel is worthy of special honour can be made a "knight of the omelette brotherhood". Recipients of this honour include former Ireland rugby international Trevor Brennan, who lives locally after finishing his rugby career playing for Toulouse.


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