Day of the Dead is a particularly special time of year to celebrate those who left this plane before us. It can be filled with joy alongside the necessary dose of nostalgia with which we remember our dearly departed and offer them the comforts of this world. Pan de muerto, or bread of the dead, is a simple sweet bun traditionally made with anise and orange flavors, topped with sugar, and decorated with “bones” that represent the dead.
No ofrenda, the altar filled with offerings to the deceased, would be complete without its respective pan de muerto. But our own experience would also fall short if we didn’t allow ourselves to indulge in these tasty treats paired with a rich hot chocolate, atole, or coffee. Below are five places where you can get an exquisite pan de muerto. Be sure to fill up while you can before the season ends.
La Pilarica (also known as Karsapan)
Founded more than 40 years ago, this iconic bakery in the Historic Center is famous for offering pan de muerto in different flavors like traditional, fig, sesame, pecan, and cake cream. And the best part is they sell it all year round! Order individual pieces by the dozen or larger sized pieces, which are perfect for sharing among small gatherings with family and friends.
This spot is known for its pastry and ice cream, however, during this time of year their pan de muerto takes the spotlight and is definitely worthy of a mention. Not only because the hazelnut filling adds an obscenely delicious touch that our sweet-toothed readers will love, but also because their style of baking blends elements of the well-known spongy pan de muerto with those more typical of Oaxaca, where the pan de muerto can come in a range of shapes, sizes, and even colors.
If you are one of those brave souls who is always willing to try novel and seasonal combinations, then the pan de muerto at Matcha Mío just might blow your taste buds away. Already a great place to enjoy Japanese green tea and delicate Asian-inspired desserts, during the pan de muerto season you’ll find an enigmatic black one made with charcoal and orange blossom, and instead of a cream filling, matcha, taro, or chai cream. Now doesn’t that sound tempting?
One could certainly imagine some things about a pan de muerto baked in a room named after a Puccini opera. And the reality is not far from it, as La Boheme’s pan de muerto is famous for its zesty flavor and beautiful violet color, due to the fact that it is made with lavender instead of orange blossom. Order it plain or with a creamy white chocolate filling, it’s an experience that can’t be missed.
A visit to the Central de Abastos may take you past this tireless bakery that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Here you’ll find both sweet and fluffy versions of this delicacy. For those looking to embrace a bit of the more primal and traditional roots of pan de muerto, this is the place for you. And take advantage of the excellent conchas while you are there, as beyond the Day of the Dead season they have an almost dizzying array of traditional Mexican sweet bread.