What is the Difference Between A Calzone and a Stromboli
For any Italian food connoisseur, the debate between the calzone and stromboli is real. Both dishes are cheesy and delicious. These two foods are often compared, and the terms are frequently used interchangeably. However, they are not the same. Both are delectable Italian dishes that use similar ingredients, like ricotta cheese and mozzarella. But what sets them apart? There are some fundamental differences between the two regarding their preparation, form, and even flavor.
History of the calzone and stromboli
To really appreciate the difference between these two delicacies, there needs to be some context. The inherent differences do not just stem from the dishes themselves but also their history. The calzone and stromboli have contrasting backgrounds, so let’s get right to it with a bit of a history lesson.
The calzone originates from 18th-century Naples, Italy. Its name translates to “pant leg,” and the original purpose of the calzone was to serve as, essentially, a walking pizza. Calzones were a convenience for working people to grab a bite to eat and not be restricted to doing so sitting at a table with a knife and fork.
The original calzone was simply a pizza that, before going into the oven to be baked, was folded in half on itself, creating a half-moon-shaped pocket full of cheesy deliciousness. Its ingredients were simple in the calzone’s infancy; however, it didn’t take long before chefs of the decadent pastry realized that the structure and thickness of the pizza dough used for calzones could handle more than your typical pizza toppings. These two key factors opened the door for chefs to be able to create calzones that contained weightier meats, cheeses, and vegetables.
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The history of the stromboli is not nearly as long as the calzone; it’s only about 80 years old, give or take a few years. Originating in Philadelphia in the 1950s, a restaurant owner by the name of Nazzareno Romano is credited as the man who invented the authentic stromboli. The story is that he got its name from a movie released at the time that is now notorious for an off-screen affair between one of the actresses and the director that resulted in a love child.
You might be wondering, what is stromboli? The stromboli is often confused with the calzone, but while the shape of the dough of a calzone is that of a half moon, the stromboli”s rolled dough is the shape of a rectangle. In a nutshell, a stromboli is a type of baked turnover that is filled with endless ingredient options but originally filled with ham, sausage, cheese, and peppers. The dough that houses the delectable fillings is typically either an Italian bread dough or pizza dough. It is a hearty and filling choice for any occasion.
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What you may like and/or dislike about calzone and stromboli
On the topic of calzones and strombolis, there is a lot to love and very little to dislike about these two delicious cuisines. These handheld delicacies are stuffed with your favorite ingredients, packed full of melty cheese, and wrapped in a crunchy crust. What’s not to love? We will give you an overview of some key factors that you may like or dislike about these dishes.
- Portability and convenience: In today’s fast-paced world, some do not have the time to sit at a restaurant with a knife and fork and have a good meal. It’s not uncommon for individuals to opt for some questionable fast food they can grab in the drive-thru. The stromboli and calzone share the convenience of food from the drive-thru without the questionable quality of the food. Their handheld design makes them great for the hustle and bustle of an on-the-go lifestyle without compromising quality and taste.
- More cheese and toppings than a traditional pizza: Cheese is an American fan favorite. It is what makes pizza the popular dish it has become. The shapes and designs of the stromboli and calzone allow for more cheesy goodness to be stuffed inside these handheld masterpieces. If they are capable of housing more cheese, then they are capable of housing more toppings than a traditional pizza as well. Who doesn’t love more cheese and toppings? It’s all about preference.
- Biggest bang for your buck: Thanks to their ability to house more cheese and toppings, calzones and strombolis are dense and filling. This simple benefit makes them a great choice if you need a quick bite to hold you over for a longer period of time. However, if you’re just looking for a light snack, you may want to opt for something different.
- Customizable to suit even the pickiest of eaters: Both the stromboli and the calzone are easily customizable, making them the perfect choice if you are trying to feed multiple individuals with different tastes. You can pick and choose the ingredients you want and leave behind the ones you don’t. So if you’re deciding on what kind of pizza to get that will suit a family with different tastes, these alternative options make that a whole lot easier because everyone can get what they want without compromise.
- Sauce: Calzones are typically served with a tomato sauce on the side for dipping. Some strombolis may have a small amount of sauce baked in, but it is often left out or served as a dipping sauce like with the calzone. Some individuals love that they can opt out of sauce altogether, and some don’t like that there’s little to no sauce. Again, preference is key.
Our list of reasons to like or dislike the calzone and stromboli may seem like it’s all about what to love about them and very little about what to dislike. However, every individual is different, and what one person loves about one thing, another may dislike that same thing. But we do have to admit there are far more reasons to love the calzone and stromboli than to dislike them.
Calzone vs. stromboli
We understand that, in many ways, the calzone and stromboli are very similar. However, to really understand where each is unique, let us provide you with a direct comparison of the two Italian staples. Read on for a list that highlights their main similarities and differences:
- The sealing technique: How these two dishes are sealed is their key difference. A calzone is folded in half, and the edges pinched together, making it a sealed pocket. The stromboli is rolled like a burrito. Both get an egg wash before being cooked.
- Shape and size: The calzone is most easily comparable to a half-moon shape, while the stromboli is shaped more like a log or elongated rectangle. Calzones are typically meant to be a single serving, making them smaller than the stromboli. The stromboli is generally catered to feed more than one individual.
- Origin: The calzone has a history dating back to the 18th century in Naples, Italy. The stromboli’s origins are not nearly as long, dating back to the 1950s in Philadelphia.
- Fillings: Both use very similar fillings; however, the main difference in filling is in the cheese. The stromboli incorporates low-moisture cheeses, primarily mozzarella. The calzone incorporates similar cheeses to the stromboli, but you’ll almost always find ricotta cheese in a calzone. You would be hard-pressed to find this cheesy choice in a stromboli.
- Preparation: Both are baked in the oven, but for a crispier texture, calzones can be fried.
- Sauce: Both the stromboli and calzone are dippable. It is unusual for there to be any sauce incorporated into the stromboli or calzone; however, both can be served with a sauce on the side for some added flavor.
Calzone or stromboli? Why not both?
When it comes to a hot, filling meal to suit all tastes, would you choose a calzone or a stromboli? No matter which you opt for, you can’t go wrong with either. Both share some delicious similarities and differences, but the result is the same — an explosion of flavor, satisfaction, and a full belly.
Now that you are a stromboli and calzone expert, put your newfound knowledge to the test. Pick a favorite and try our famous calzones and strombolis!