Pan dei Morti: the Bread of the Dead

Halloween has come and gone, but it’s not all candy and costumes here in Milan. Come October, there’s one sweet treat that starts adorning the shelves of Milan’s pasticcerie and panifici: pan dei morti. This “bread of the dead” is consumed on All Soul’s Day (2 November) in honor of dearly departed loved ones.

Recipes vary, but they’re generally made from chocolate, dried fruit, vin santo (an Italian desert wine typical of Tuscany) and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Pan dei morti looks a bit bread-like though it’s more of a cookie…it’s crumbly and topped with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. Just like ppanettone at Christmas time, pan dei morti is required late October/November eating in Milan.

Our friend and Milan native Federica Sacchi is a bonafide pan dei morti enthusiast, and here she shares with us her five favorite places for the best pan dei morti in Milan, listed below. Big thanks to Federica for taking the time to do this as well as for the photos! You can follow her adventures around Milan and Italy on Instagram: @signorina_effe. She’s awesome!

Five places to find pane dei morti in Milan:

1) Pasticceria Clivati: This classic and elegant pasticceria Milanese always boasts luxurious, mouth-watering windows. They make pan dei Morti this time of the year, and to hold you over for the other eleven months, they make a delicious chocolate crostata with raspberries all the time. (Viale Coni Zugna 57; + 39 02 8940 3338; open 7 days: 7am – 8.30pm website)

2) Pasticceria Lorini: This elegant pasticceria in Porta Venezia always puts out a nice pane dei morti come October. (Via Castel Vorrone,23, + 39 02 2951 6086; Open Tuesday – Sunday: 8am-1pm; 3.30pm – 8pm, but closes at 6.30pm on Sundays; closed Monday; website)

3) Pasticceria Cucchi: Cucchi needs no introduction. This historic sala da thè Milanese makes a splendid cappuccino with an array of delicious brioche and in the evenings offers a very posh aperitivo. Don’t forget to pick up a pan dei morti if you drop in this time of year…it’s delicious! (Corso Genova, 1; + 39 02 89409793; Tuesday – Sunday 7am – 10pm; closed Monday; website)

4) La Farina del Mio Sacco: This bakery, which has won many prizes for its bread, makes delicious focaccia, wonderful pasta frolla cookies and amazing pan dei morti. (Via Eustachi 17; + 39 02 4963 2726; Monday – Friday, 7am – 8pm; Saturday 7am – 2pm; 4pm – 7.30pm, closed Sunday; website)

5) Panificio Damiani: Last but not least, this is the panificio I always think about when it comes to pan dei morti. It’s a simple panificio at the corner of my street where I used to buy my merenda at the end of my middle school classes (which is conveniently located on the other corner of my street!). Fun fact: There has always been a panificio at this address since at least the 1960s. (Via Foppa 41; + 39 02 48951395)