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Day of the Dead - 2006

Anybody know where I can find foods & products essential to the Day of the Dead celebration? I figure with the strong Michoacan continegent there is bound to be a good source in the area.

Specifically I am interested in:

Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread)
Sugar Skulls
Sempasuchitl (Marigold Flowers)
Copal (Mexican Incense)

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  1. You might contact Karina's in Petaluma -

    The Fruitvale neighborhood in Oakland has a big Day of the Dead celebration but I can't point you to specific stores for those items.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Great Tip Melanie.. u da bomb. I am going to host a tamale making party for my wive's euro-american (sounds nicer than gringo, no) family... and I was debating whether I would make the Black Mole myself or just us Trader Joe's Red Mole (which is pretty decent).... but now Karina's sounds like a good alternative.

      They are going on my Northbay To Do List!

      1. re: Eat_Nopal

        Here are two photographs of the just-baked pan de muerto at Karina's today.

        Mole paste from Oaxaca on display in the case, $10 per bag. Coloradito and one other one.

    2. Anyplace in SF? I'm looking for the same.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Maya

        Yeeaah, but again can't point to specifics. One year I went Mexican looking for the sugar skulls and found a few in the Mission that sold the small version at a market that I THINK was about 19th Street. Not a big help, but ask.

        I know La Michoacana in Vallejo will have the pan de muerto and is where I'm planning to buy my dead bread.

        IIRC, Casa Latina in Berkeley makes the bread, but call to ask.

        Like Melanie mentioned, Katrina's has the bread.

        1. re: Maya

          I think that several panaderias usually make skulls. I am sure you will find them if you wander around 24th Street you'll find pan de muerto and the skulls. Try panaderia La Reyna since I think their bread is the best on 24th Street - I am not sure if they make pan de muerto, but I'd start there.

        2. It was 3 or 4 years ago, I was in the Tropicana Market in late October and the bakery had: bread, and skulls.

          There was a display in front of a cash register, incense sticks in bags.

          I am not familiar with Sempasuchitl.

          The store also had a display of candy from Mexico.

          Tropicana Market is in San Jose, corner of Story and King.

          1. There's a Mexican party store in on International -- I can't remember the name, but it's on the north (uphill) side of the street in main shopping area in Fruitvale (somewhere on the 3400-3800 blocks) that probably has the skulls and the incense, and possibly some of the other stuff as well. And if you can wait for the Fruitvale Dia de los Muertos festival, there are sugar skulls of every possible size and design. Except I just googled it, and it's not until 11/5 this year, so you probably wouldn't want to wait.

            Edited: With rworange supplying the right term ("dulceria") I googled it:

            Dulceria La Rosa
            3606 E 14th St (Internationl)
            Oakland, CA 94601
            (510) 261-3346

            There's also another one farther out International that has a website and boasts of its bilingual staff (very helpful for us Euro-Americans): http://www.dulceriacolima.com/index.html

            The festival itself is not particularly chowish, but worth going to anyway for the Aztec dancers, etc.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Yeah, that is probably the place to go. I asked at the Dulceria/party store near me and they suggested either waiting for the DOD event or trying the party store on Intl in Oakland. If you are SF based then check out party supply stores in the Mission.Look for the word dulceria on the sign and if not, then ask if they know where.

            2. I will be making my own sugar skulls!
              They had the molds at Sur la Table in years past. I don't see them on the web site currently.

              A resource with instructions and everything you need to know.

              1. I did not realize that one of my favorite fun Mexican stuff sites is from a store in SF!


                4 Replies
                1. re: Got Cake

                  Wow, thanks so much for that info. Looks like a great store that I'll definately check out next time in that area in SF.

                  I've never seen Medium sugar skulls in the Bay Area. There were such fantastic versions in Mexico City.

                  Also catching on that papel picado has all different themes. Nice that they have DOD palel picado. If I get there before Halloween, will pick some up.

                  Thanks again.

                  1. re: rworange

                    It is a great store. They have just started putting in their DOD window displays. Closer to DOD, they usually set up an area outside of the store where they demonstrate making the sugar skulls and have someone who will put names on the skulls for you. Probably best to call to get exact dates for that. I think they also have paper marigolds and copal, but I'm not positive about that.

                    1. re: debby

                      Yeah, I saw the paper marigold's on the website. They also have DOD cards with marigold seeds. Didn't search for copal. Thanks for that heads up on the sugar skull demos. Will definately schedule some time to get down there to check that out. They also have two sizes of skull molds to make your own as well as undecorated versions.

                    2. re: rworange

                      Bonampak is an excellent store. The same people that own it also run Estrellita Restaurant in Los Altos. Many of the staff split time between the two establishments. I keep trying to convince them to move their restaurant to SF, but no luck yet.

                      Around this time of year I usually see the sugar skulls in most large Mexican grocery stores (i.e., places like Casa Lucas).