As Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) approaches on November 1 and 2, many San Antonio bakeries–or panaderias–offer up the traditional Mexican sweet bread for the occasion, called Pan de muerto.

A wonderful Pan de muerto can be found at Marioli. While other bakeries can turn out dense or overly sweet breads with too much sugar decoration on top and little flavor, Chef Mariana Oliver makes a beautifully soft, round bread perfumed with orange flower water. Small lines of sugared dough are laid across the top representing the bones of the deceased and the circle of life. They give just the right amount of sweetness in those first bites. I also love that Chef Mariana keeps her bread simple and elegant, and forgoes infusing the top with bright food colorings.

Chef Mariana makes all sorts of other sweets year-round such as cookies and cakes, in addition to wonderful and affordable Mexican dishes such as cochinita pibil, chiles rellenos and other favorites from her native Mexico City. Her to-go concept means you can easily take your orders home with you, or they will happily heat them on site.

Pan de muerto from Marioli, $12.50. Visit for more info.