Bread of the Dead

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With the Central American holiday Dia de los Muertos coming up Nov. 1 and 2, Aurora Bakery is preparing the traditional pan de muerto, or Bread of the Dead. Resembling something like a giant, inflated sand dollar, the round loaf represents a skull and bones, explains Aurora owner Patricia Paiva. She bakes a version of the sweet, eggy bread flavored with fresh orange zest.

For the next week, the counter at Paiva's cheery Nolensville Road shop will be piled with colorful loaves topped with bright pastel-tinged crystal sugar—pink for joy, white for purity, purple for sadness.

It's hard to be sad inside Paiva's shop, where the display cases brim with traditional Mexican pastries named for their shapes. Sweet breads and cookies with names that translate to "ribs," "kisses," "tongues," and "bakers" line the shelves. Paiva also serves a menu of sandwiches, including a chicken salad with apples on homemade French loaf. It's just plain old beige bread, but it will make you so happy, it may as well be colored pink.

Aurora Bakery and Cafe Papillon, located at 3725 Nolensville Rd., offers three sizes of pan de muerto for $3.65, $7.50 and $12.50. Aurora's pan de muerto will be available at Cheekwood's Dia de los Muertos celebration on Saturday.

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