A huge number of Americans boast Italian ancestry, so it’s perhaps not a surprise that Italian cuisine is one of the most popular ethnic cuisines in the United States. We love pizza, pasta, calzones, and more, yet there’s one common question that lovers of Italian food have: when it comes to stromboli vs calzone, what’s the difference?
They’re both made of dough that’s been rolled around a filling, they’re both “Italian,” and they’re both delicious. So why are they different menu items?
In this guide, we’re going to shine a light on these two delicious dishes and show you what separates a calzone and a stromboli.
Are you ready to join us on this journey of discovery deep into the tasty world of Italian food? Then prepare to be hungry and read on!
They’re From Different Places
The first key difference between a stromboli and a calzone is that they’re from different places. The calzone originates from Naples, Italy, just like pizza does. They were conceived as an easy way to eat pizza while standing on the street or on the go.
While the stromboli fulfills the same requirement, its origin is Italian-American rather than Italian. The stromboli was created in Philadelphia, or, to be more precise, South Philadelphia. That’s right, the same city that gave us the cheesesteak also gave us the stromboli!
A little extra fact: calzone comes from the Italian word for pant legs, while the stromboli is named for the island of Stromboli, which is north of Sicily.
They’re Different Shapes
So, what is a calzone? It is, in essence, a pizza that’s been made and then folded in half to create that familiar half-moon shape that we all know and love. By contrast, a stromboli starts out as a long rectangle of dough that you then roll up, like you’re making a joint of pork or a cigar.
This difference is very obvious when you take a look at the food in cross-section. A calzone will have one big hollow that’s stuffed with tomato sauce, meats, cheese, vegetables, etc. A stromboli will be more rippled, like a Ho Ho.
The Fillings Are Different
Okay, so this difference is much more noticeable if you go to an authentic Italian restaurant. If you’re just picking up a calzone or a stromboli from a late-night pizza joint, this difference probably won’t apply.
If you’re getting real traditional, you’d never put hard cheese inside a calzone. Instead, a calzone’s cheese quotient would be made up of creamy ricotta cheese, like a white pizza. If you order a stromboli, you should find mozzarella inside it, and not normally the soft, wet kind, as this will make the whole dish damp.
If you go to an expensive Italian eatery, you probably won’t find any tomato sauce in a calzone, either. If you want any red sauce on your calzone, you’re going to have to dip it. Stromboli mostly come with tomato sauce inside.
You Seal Them Up Differently
If you’re making a calzone, how do you stop them from leaking their delicious filling all over the place? The answer is that you fold them up and then crimp the edges, just as you would with that British delicacy, the Cornish pasty.
However, if you’re making a stromboli, you need to roll it up and then use a little extra dough to seal it up tightly.
There is one similarity in this stage, though. Both the calzone and stromboli should get an egg wash to give it that beautiful shine.
Different Cooking Methods
Both the calzone and the stromboli can be baked but the calzone isn’t always baked. Sometimes it’s dropped into a deep fryer and cooked until it’s crisp and golden brown.
However, this is unlikely to be the case at more traditional Italian restaurants, where it’s much more likely for them to both be baked.
Which Is Better?
Okay, this is the section that’s going to enrage at least 50 percent of you. It’s time for us to take a look at which is the victor in the battle of calzone vs stromboli.
In terms of pure exposure, there are far more people who have eaten a calzone than have eaten a stromboli. In many parts of the world, the stromboli is practically non-existent. While the humble and delicious calzone, as you’ll find on wiseguypizzapie.com can be found everywhere from the United States to Europe to Japan.
However, popularity doesn’t necessarily mean that one is better than the other. The stromboli is a little more modern than the calzone: you can expect to find a broader range of fillings in a stromboli than you would in a calzone. However, the calzone boasts that Italian authenticity that the stromboli can’t touch.
The calzone also boasts, in general, a better filling-to-dough ratio. This is natural when you look at how they’re made: the stromboli is made up of rolled dough, so there’s going to be quite a lot more dough than filling in a cross-section. This does work to the stromboli’s advantage though, as the fillings are held more securely.
While both of these dishes are delicious examples of Italian cuisine, the calzone just edges this one, thanks to its popularity and the amount of filling that you get.
Stromboli vs Calzone: Solved
The battle between stromboli vs calzone will keep raging. Whichever you prefer, we hope that you now recognize the key differences between them, and can make a more informed decision next time you go out and grab some Italian food!
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