Caught this post from the Quebec board
Italian "Day of the Dead" cookies?
"When I lived in Italy, the first week of November (and especially November 1) was one of the best times of year for cookies. One of the real treats in Lombardy and Piedmont was "pan dei morti" ("bread of the dead"), a delicious cookie shaped like an almond or a deflated football. They were made with powdered almond macaroons, sweet wine, dried fruit, chocolate, pignoli, and spices. Like panforte or panpepato, they were sticky and dense, so were baked on top of rice-paper disks, or, if you could find them, unconsecrated hosts.
You'd bite into a shattering, icing-sugar-dusted outside that gave way to a rich and chewy interior that was almondy, chocolaty, and spicy"
"When I searched for them in Boston's (very Italian) North End last year, all I found was the southern Italian "ossi dei morti" ("bones of the dead"), a very dry meringue resembling white bones. They're good too, just a different thing."
It seems SF only has the latter, though from my understanding at Mara's they make them all year round. Mara also won ... by far ... as the best version of this cookie. They come in chocolate and vanilla and the chocolate at Mara's was full of flavor, almost like they had chocolate chips in them. The white were fine with some almonds, but a little too sweet for my taste.
These cookies in general are a hard meringue biscotti studded with nuts. They crackle like crunching bones and are nice dipped in coffee or wine.
Stella's chocolate was full of hazelnut flavor. The white was good too, not so hazelnut-intense. These were the most delicate of the bones, crispy yet light. No need to dip yet when they were dipped they were wonderful ... melting like snowflakes on your tongue. Stella also had one fine mini fruit and nut biscotti ... nothing to do with DOD, but I love that type of biscotti.
Victoria's were ok, but the least flavorful of the three. Like Stella, the texture was light and with pockets of air in the center. They were also hazelnut based ... or could be pine nut ... the flavor wasn't very pronounced.
Neither French Italian Bakery nor Danilo carried them. Danilo seems to be getting away from the baked goods and is more into the sandwiches these days. Didn't get over to Emporio Rulli to see if they had any.
This article is about many other regional Italian versions
Ossa di Morto (Ossa da Mordere)
Piemontese Bones of the Dead, with hazelnuts and almonds left whole.
Uosse de Mort o Finocchietti
Basilicatan Bones of the Dead, richly laced with anise seed and fennel.
Ossa di Mortu
Sicilian Bones of the Dead, lavishly sweet and flavored with cloves.
Fave Livornesi o Ossa di Morto
Tuscan Bones of the Dead, laced with orange.
Fave dei Morti
Lombard Bones of the Dead, with lemon and cinnamon.
Ossa da Morto
Veronese Bones of the Dead, made with polenta.
Roman Bones, made with almond paste and lemon.
Not exactly bones, but still made for the Day of the Dead, in Sicily.
And here's even a recipe from Chez Panisse
If anyone else see any other please post. Italy makes these the first week of November.
Victoria Pastry Co
1362 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133
446 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Mara's Italian Pasteries
503 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
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